Éco-quartier NDG’s “Veggies in the city at daycare” started three years ago as a pilot project, and has since become one of the favorite activities of participating daycare centers, besides the annual flower planting activity every May. Radishes, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli and beautiful tomatoes are some of the vegetables that were planted this year by children in love with gardening and their educators. The small vegetable gardens were established in the backyards of these daycares with generous donation of vegetable plants from Serres Lavoie and Serres Sylvain Cléroux in Laval.

At the beginning of this project there were two daycare centers Montessori School and CPE Les Petites Fleurs interested in participating in the creation of a vegetable garden, but today the list has more than tripled. The project now includes Les Petits Fleurs, NDG daycare,  Montclaire daycare,  Montessori daycare,  BigSteps daycare, Jardin d’enfants YMCA, and the West End daycare. The children and their educators have put their hands together for the creation of these magnificent vegetable gardens. By cultivating vegetables, the children learned the different plant species, the relationship between what they eat and the products of the vegetable garden.

“It’s already well known that children do not really like eating vegetables, but gardening makes them very happy. They enjoyed playing with soil, making holes, planting, watering and watching as the plants grow. After the planting they went every day to see if the plants were already big enough or to see if there were vegetables ready to be picked, “said one of the educators of the Montclaire daycare.

These gardens also make it possible to sensitize the children to nature; the natural balances as well as the seasonal cycles.

The educators had told us that the children were very involved in the project. Every day, there were small groups of children accompanied by an educator who took care of watering, weed removal or setting up compost. The little ones had the opportunity to see hands-on the importance of using the compost for planting, as they had already participated in composting and vermicomposting workshops given by the Éco-quartier NDG animators.

The objectives of this Éco-quartier NDG project are to enable children to observe, grow, play, act, create, make, touch, taste, communicate, and help each other. The garden is used as a tool, rich in innumerable educational potential, a perfect support to encourage discovery and experimentation, but at the same time to create unforgettable moments and teach the children respect for nature.

For next year, Éco-quartier NDG hopes to expand the list of daycare centers interested in this magnificent project. We are waiting for you in large numbers, kids, teachers and parents too , with only two tools: the passion for gardening and … the love of nature. Stay green my friends!

Adina Badescu