Children likely to get dirty as they learn and tend their gardens

With summer now unofficially underway, Sylvan Lake Children’s Garden is up and running, and proving a popular hit

With summer now unofficially underway, Sylvan Lake Children’s Garden is up and running, and proving a popular hit among children and their families.

Its first meeting of the year, May 26, saw about 15 families taking part in gardening activities aimed at teaching children about food security and sustainability.

“We are teaching children at a young age that they can grow their own food that is not genetically modified and is healthy for you,” said program co-ordinator Giselle Campbell. “It’s fun and educational.”

Horticulturalist Janine Waldo leads the garden’s weekly Monday meetings, where children learn how to plant seeds and tend them as they grow.

Crafts and snacks also keep the young gardeners’ occupied during their stay typically lasting between an hour and an hour-and-a-half.

Campbell runs the garden through Sylvan Lake and Area Community Partners’ Association Family Education Support program. Situated next to the adult community garden, the children’s garden is now in its fifth year.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to get the two groups connected so that we can take the kids on a tour through the gardens,” said Campbell.

The children’s garden provides many benefits for youngsters who are involved with it, she added.

“Food is just one part of it,” she said. “Then there is the physical activity that goes along with it because they’re planting and they’re watering.

“There’s another aspect in teaching the respect of other people’s property: They know those gardens are there, they know they’re not to walk on them.”

Parents arrive at the sessions knowing their children are likely to get dirty, said Campbell. She feels that’s simply part of the learning and fun of gardening at a young age.

The garden’s Monday meetings are held on a drop-in basis, with no registration required, and no fee to take part. They typically begin around 10 a.m.

The garden, located on 47 Ave. west of 50 St., will be open until September.

More information is available by contacting Campbell at 403-887-9989.