Growing Gardens at Nido Pennington

The term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ was coined by American author Richard Louv and speaks to today’s reality that many children spend less and less time outdoors. Louv contends that this has a detrimental effect on children and their development.

Mindful of this, the team at Nido Early School Pennington have transformed their somewhat overgrown outdoor areas at their school to be mini bush kinder and vegetable growing areas, as well as a sensory garden. The children enjoy visiting the garden, getting messy and watching their vegetables grow.

Nido Pennington is fortunate to have three educators who are passionate about helping the children make the most of the school’s outdoor spaces. One has been appointed as outdoor leader, with the others helping establish small, sustainable growing areas in the nursery yard; places the children really can engage with nature.

One noticeable benefit of these outdoor spaces is the effect they have on the children’s behaviour. Through spending more time outdoors, the children appear to be more self-regulated, calmer and with greater self-esteem.

The gardens are also great for the children’s families. Grandparents, in particular, love attending and working alongside the children and educators to make the most of these spaces. And, of course, an additional benefit is that the fruit, vegetables, and herbs that are grown in the gardens, are used in the Cucina, leading to the children embracing a wider range of foods due to their involvement in growing them.

By transforming their outdoor areas, the team at Nido Pennington are helping the children appreciate nature and enjoy the numerous benefits of getting their hands dirty.