"Our garden" (2 years).

Gardening is the ultimate sensory experience. Children can play with soil, smell flowers, and eat delicious, juicy foods. They can see amazing things happen and feel rewarded for their hard work. Gardening is for children of all ages, especially babies. Have you ever seen a baby's delight when they discover a strawberry patch?

Gardening can be physical work (try pushing a child-sized wheelbarrow!) and it produces fruits, vegetables and herbs. Physical activity and healthy eating are valued in both the National Quality Standard (2.1.3) and the Early Years Learning Framework (3.2).

Gardening also encourages children to show respect for the environment (2.4) which aligns with EYLF learning outcomes. As children watch insects, help plants grow, and observe the seasons, their appreciation for nature increases.

How to start a vegetable garden

Gardening is overwhelming for some early childhood educators. You may have limited space, no budget, and no gardening experience. All of these challenges can be overcome, and the results are worth it.

Build a garden for free

Setting up a garden can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Ask families and community organisations to donate useful things like old pots and seeds. You may get donations of heirloom seeds that have been in a family for generations. Remember to save the seeds from your own plants and pass them on to other families!

  • Go for a walk to find long sticks and build your own snow pea teepee.
  • Make garden nutrients from kitchen scraps. Read SA Government's guide to making compost.
  • Ask for advice and information from your local community garden. Invite somebody experienced in horticulture to teach skills to the educators and children.
  • Share seeds and seedlings through Grow Free.

How to grow plants in small spaces



Picture books

  • A Year in Our New Garden by Gerda Muller
  • How Does My Garden Grow? by Gerda Muller
  • Good Garden by Katie Smith Milway
  • The Last Garden by Rachel Ip
  • The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

Music and poems