HERE’s WHAT GARDENING & THE OUTDOORS TEACHES CHILDREN
We believe that children should experience good old outside playtime complete with games, potato sack races, water play, tricycles, and hands on activities to develop confidence in physical capabilities. We embrace the concepts of discovery-based learning through play, sensory exploration, creative expression, and most importantly making friends and developing social skills. Ka Hana Pono has a beautiful garden filled with fruits and vegetables that fill the curiosity and stomachs of your children. Children (and adults) are reinvigorated through gardening, and through our ongoing improvements our gardens begin to produce. The children see their gardens as a sign of love, work and care. It tells others that they focus on this place with their own physical efforts. Its improvement tells something about their own personal endeavors to stay healthy. This whole child approach allows each child the opportunity for direct interaction with plants and animals while learning the important aspects of care and conservation of our world. These fundamental concepts promote hands-on learning, environmental responsibility and self-confidence in children: Children learn basic skills when they observe how weather affects plants; how seeds sprout; how plants grow; how gardeners cope with plant problems; how soil, water and sunshine interact; how butterflies and other insects play a role; how the awaited harvest also foreshadows death. Gardening fosters responsibility in young children by encouraging them to use their hands to prepare the soil, apply fertilizer, sow seeds, remove competing weeds, add water and harvest the crop. These practices are necessary for a plant to grow to its full potential and produce food. When children accept these responsibilities, we help them to become caring individuals. And when children experience the loss of plants because of neglect, they learn the tragedies of improperly caring for the plants. Through these real-life lessons in gardening, children develop an appreciation for the value of responsibility. Scientific discovery abounds in gardens. Animals, insects, worms and other creatures are attracted to plants growing in a garden. Children learn by observing the ecosystem in a garden- bees pollinating plants; worms living in the soil and breaking down organic matter, – working in the soil to make it more fertile and plant reproduction. Worms produce fertilizer and mulch for plants. An ecosystem thrives in a garden and can be observed daily. Observing the process of growth and change enables children to anticipate and be patient, rather than expecting immediate gratification. Communication channels are developed as an adult explains the natural processes that occur as plants grow and produce food. Youngsters express their gardening experiences by talking, writing and drawing. Evidence of their hard work unfolds before their eyes in the garden and classroom. Gardening helps children explore the benefits of completing a task and being praised by a caring adult. Fruits and vegetables are plant-based food products that extend learning when children locate seeds, peelings and other plant parts while they eat.