Preschoolers dig deep to squash competition

Tuakau’s Little Stars Early Childhood Centre recently won Best Garden in the school category of the Yates Spring Vegie Growing Challenge. The children’s passion for gardening has paid off in spades, after they won the $500 cash prize plus a $500 hamper of Yates products.
The children grew many vegetables including lettuces, tomatoes and leeks and have enjoyed being able to harvest and eat the fruits of their labour.
Sharon Strang, manager of Tuakau Little Stars, said the competition really boosted the children’s learning. “They’ve grown things from seed and know how easy it is and have learnt not to be afraid to try new things. They get down and dirty like all children should!”
It’s been pleasant for Sharon to hear, through her office window, the children discussing what is happening in the garden.
“Parents have been able to take home fresh veggies for their families and with all the tomatoes we’ve been making sauces and chutneys that we’ve shared with local businesses and wider community,” said Sharon.
Sharon and her team were inspired to rebuild the existing garden and create raised beds so it was easier for the children to garden. This also avoided the problem of little feet walking over new seedlings. The $500 prize money will be spent on creating more raised beds and a shed for the equipment.
Fiona Arthur, Yates marketing manager, said Tuakau’s Little Stars did an amazing job and she hoped the challenge was the beginning of an ongoing love of gardening. “It was wonderful to see the children’s enthusiasm for, not just growing veggies, but also the learning that goes with gardening.”
The Yates Spring Veggie Growing Challenge is designed to foster gardening and bring gardeners together to share their successes, problems and aspirations. The competition will run again this September.

Caption: Cassius Hutchins (4) harvests vegetables from the gardens at Tuakau’s Little Stars.

Sharon Strang, manager of Tuakau’s Little Stars, enjoying a picnic in the garden with the children.


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