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Wayne Metro’s Garden-Based Learning Grows with Community Support


The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly digitized our society – from classrooms to Zoom-rooms – and today, our children are spending even more time in the digital world. The Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency Head Start Garden Program aims to inspire local children to head outdoors and create deeper connections with the natural world while honing valuable life skills.

Called Garden-Basednull Learning, the program is made possible through the collaboration of Wayne Metro and its Head Start locations, Keep Growing Detroit, the National Kidney Foundation, and Parker Village, as well as generous donors including Blue Cross Complete of Michigan. A donation of indoor grow beds and garden lighting from Blue Cross Complete has enabled this program the unique opportunity to grow all year round!

Additional updates will expand the program this Fall, including the installation of new garden- based learning areas at two more of our Head Start locations, bringing the total to 14.

Students learn best through play! Gardening with young children:

  • builds curiosity about the web of life by allowing children to explore plants, animals and community.
  • practices motor skills as they dig in the soil, splash in the mud, and pull up weeds.
  • practices foundational skills in math and science as they experiment with the conditions necessary for seed germination and use rulers, like the student pictured right, to measure the growth of their seedlings.
  • shows seed-germination to see how all living things grow and need care.
  • Increases taste preferences and eating habits. Children who are exposed to fruits and vegetables at a young age through experiences, play, and gardening are more likely to accept fruits and vegetables in their diet and may increase habitual consumption throughout their lives.

To learn more, explore Keep Growing Detroit’s Garden Resource Program, which provides seeds, transplants, compost, technical assistance and special event support. Download their shareable – Garden Based Learning Guide or tune into their YouTube channel, where a Detroit farmer reads a children’s garden book each month, and play the videos for your children or students.

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