Gardening provides purposeful experiences that connect with nature. Tamariki expand their vocabulary as they become kaitiaki – caring for land, plants and small creatures. Harvesting food rewards perseverance, responsibility and contribution.

Why do it?

  • Gardening provides an opportunity for play that is both purposeful and messy.
  • It’s something to enjoy outside in the fresh air.
  • You can be close to nature and observe and talk about the natural world.
  • There are things to find out about and observe, including how plants grow, what happens when seeds are put into the soil, how they grow, and how they are harvested.
  • There’s a lot to talk about in the garden so it offers another opportunity for language development and for learning garden-related words.
  • Vegetables grown in the garden can be eaten at family meals, making a practical contribution to the family.

How to do it

How to do it / Te tikanga mō tēnei mahi:

  • You’ll need some soil, a place in the garden or in a container with holes in the bottom (for drainage), seeds and water
  • Seeds can be bought or can even be collected from plants that have gone to seed
  • Ask your tamaiti what they think a seed needs to grow
  • Include them in the whole process of caring for seeds – watching, noticing, watering, sheltering, protecting from pests, transplanting, harvesting and then hopefully eating!
  • Notice what insects visit the garden and talk about why insects need plants and why plants need insects
  • In early spring, plant a bulb in a container and leave on a sunny windowsill. Keep it watered. Ask your tamaiti what they think will happen.
  • Read picture books about growth, for example, ‘Jack and the beanstalk’, ‘The Carrot Seed’ (Ruth Kraus), ‘Growing Vegetable Soup’ (Ruth Ehlert)
  • Notice and talk about the life cycle of a butterfly. Read ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’

Using more reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
To germinate
To plant
To grow
To make grow
To water
To weed
To protect
Te wā hauhake Harvest