Pre-schoolers taught gardening skills
CLIFTON — Signs of spring were all over City Greens farm and educational center on Tuesday, April 12, and pre-schoolers were trying to spot them during the first day of “Story Time.”
Emma Latham, school grounds manager for the center, is in charge of youth programs and helping schools establish their own gardens.
She has started more than 100 school gardens in North and Central Jersey, but Story Time is designed to train budding gardeners, pun intended, she said.
Training 3- to 5-year-olds to do their part in the garden, Latham splits the lessons up in four skills: Watering, planting, weeding and harvesting.
The first lesson, though, was finding some of the new flowers popping out of the bright green grass, complete with a magnifying glass and a paper bag to hold their treasures.
They also get a trowel and bucket to use for their lessons and an activity book to take home.
In spite of the constant background roar of Route 3 traffic nearby, the preschoolers enjoyed the sunshine and the “spring scavenger hunt.”
They couldn’t wait to pet the goats, who seemed as eager as the children for some attention.
Many of the activities of City Green are aimed toward teaching children about where their food comes from and how to help grow it.
“We have a Budding Gardner certificate at the end of the course,” Latham said.
By practicing a new skill each week the children learn to start their own garden at home.
They also receive lessons in being kind to each other and to the animals and plants, she said.
Because of the pandemic, only two or three families can participate at one time, meaning Latham and her assistant, Aisha Ibrahim, can give each child plenty of attention.