Seeds for Success: How Gardening Boosts Early Childhood Development

Little girl planting flowers in a garden

From the patience of transforming butterflies to the perseverance of a growing sapling, nature holds lessons for us all! Exploring our natural world is a perfect way to learn these lessons, and gardening offers opportunities to do just that. From tending to flowers to picking vegetables, this family-fun activity helps us plant the seeds for our children’s success.

Healthy Roots: Gardening and Reggio Emilia

Through the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy, our early childhood educators teach children to explore their interests through the world around them. Gardening is a great way to open young discoverers’ eyes to nature’s beauty, complexities and gifts. This activity aligns perfectly with our philosophy, emphasizing child-led education, exploration, hands-on learning and more.

  • Child-Led Learning: Gardening allows children to take the lead in their learning process, encouraging them to choose which plants to grow, observe changes in their growth and ask questions about the natural world around them.
  • Exploration and Discovery: Gardening provides opportunities for children to explore and discover the natural environment by observing the life cycle of plants, investigating soil and learning about the connection of all living things.
  • Sensory Engagement: Gardening engages our senses, including touch, sight, smell and even taste. Children can feel the textures of soil and plants, observe vibrant colors, smell the fragrance of flowers and taste freshly grown fruits and vegetables.
  • Project-Based Learning: Gardening projects can serve as long-term, project-based learning experiences. Children can plan and monitor plant growth, as well as problem-solve when faced with challenges like weather and pests.
  • Connection to the Environment: Gardening fosters a sense of connection to the natural world, helping little ones learn about their ability to impact the ecosystem.

These Reggio Emilia-based lessons are not the only ways our little saplings grow from this process! This outdoor activity also helps young learners build life skills and strengthen their development.

Nutrient-Rich: Gardening and Early Childhood Development

By working in the garden, children delve into sensory exploration and discoveries that enrich physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. Your role as their guide empowers them on this journey. These tips will help your family reap the benefits:

Get active, and get messy.

The fun of a family garden is that everyone contributes to its success! Encourage your child to take an active role in every step of the process, honing their fine motor skills with digging, planting seeds and watering, and their gross motor skills through their traversal of the space.

Engage their minds.

There’s so much to see in this tiny world you’re building! Ask your child about the process. Observe the daily progress in your plant’s growth. If you spot a new plant or see some are facing challenges, try some problem-solving together. These little studies will help your young gardener learn to think more critically about the world around them.

Highlight the power of their actions.

No matter how young, our actions and efforts have an impact! Gardening is a beautiful way for children to grasp this concept at an early age. Family gardening helps build camaraderie and teaches the power of teamwork. It also teaches responsibility and, by witnessing these efforts pay off, can help boost confidence and self-esteem.

CDC Plants the Seeds for Your Child’s Success

Every day is an opportunity to grow! For more than 40 years, Children’s Discovery Center has helped guide and expand the minds of Toledo’s youngest explorers. Our dedicated staff nurtures children into lifelong learners by providing an innovative environment promoting self-led discovery. Contact us today to learn more about our Reggio Emilia approach to learning, register your child and tour our facilities.