November 08, 2017

Preschoolers pitch in for planting project

Teaching the next generation about their natural environment is a big part of the philosophy of Kids Barn Childcare Centre in the Taranaki town of Hawera.

So when the opportunity to help local farmers, Adam and Josie Werder with a planting project came up the kids and staff at the preschool were delighted.

Kitted out with their gumboots, sunhats and a willingness to get their hands dirty, 25 four-year-olds from Kids Barn visited the farm to learn about, and help with, the planting of native flaxes.

Josie and Adam own Zug Farm, an 86ha, 225 cow farm near Hawera. Two of their three children go to Kids Barn and they wanted to show the kids who aren’t from farming families what happens on a farm, where milk actually comes from and how planting streambanks can help care for the environment.

“This is the first event like this we have done, but we’re keen to do more,” says Josie. “It’s a fantastic learning opportunity for the children and they certainly seem to enjoy it. Of course our children are growing up on a farm, but not every child gets the chance to experience farming life so it’s great to be able to share that with them.”

The stream that runs through Adam and Josie’s property has extensive riparian planting and the kids helped plant flaxes to fill some of the gaps.

Kids Barn Manager Kirsten Gilberd says the children loved the chance to be involved with the planting. “We have a strong focus on nature and the environment at Kids Barn and we believe regular contact with the outdoors helps to develop a sense of wonder,” says Kirsten. “The children were buzzing after their visit to the farm. They had a great time helping with the planting and having a look around the milking shed.”

Kids Barn also has a garden and orchard and the children are encouraged to grow and harvest fruit and vegetables, so the chance to visit a farm and do some planting dovetails nicely with their learning about nature, how it helps them and how they can help look after it.