Early Start for Young Gardeners

By Bev Jordan

National TV arrived in Castle Hill early on Tuesday morning to shine a light (and a camera) on what young children at Uniting Wesley Pre- School have been doing to create a beautiful environment in which to play and learn Gardening.

The pre-school was one of 1500 recipients of a Woolworths Junior Landcare Grant last year and this year it was chosen to launch the 2022 grants program nationally and featured alongside Sam Mack, the weather reporter on Channel 7’s Sunrise program.

Youngsters showed off their garden, made mud pies, sang to the audience and had a great time during the two-hour program.

Pre-school director Jane Harvey said: “At Uniting Wesley Preschool we believe all children deserve a beautiful natural learning space to belong and play in.

“With the Woolworths Landcare grant we created a Bush tucker and Indigenous garden where we can continue to provide a strong Aboriginal perspective and help the children develop the knowledge of our First Peoples’ nation and our traditional custodians, The Dharug people and country.

Inside Photo For Feature Story On Wesley Preschool Early Start For Young Gardeners
Hills mayor peter gangemi gets planting at wesley preschool with jane harvey and (l-r) eleanor, parker, harrison and anaisha.

“We also wanted to create shade, so we planted trees that will become the legacy of Wesley Preschool, gorgeous flowering gum trees for the children to play beneath.”

She said the garden became a wonderful community project following the research and design, with children, families, staff and former staff joining management committee members and the Wesley minister for the community planting day complete with barbecue by star volunteer groundsman Harvey Weir.

Entries are now open for the 2022 Woolworths Junior Landcare Grants with schools and early learning centres able to apply for up to $1,000 each, to develop projects that focus on sustainable food production, improving waste management practices or enhancing native habitats.

Hills Mayor Peter Gangemi also got to see how beautiful the gardens were at Wesley Pre- School and congratulated the centre (pictured).

Woolworths NSW/ACT State Manager, Michael Mackenzie said: “Educating young kids on how we can grow a greener future through hands-on learning is an incredible way to make an impact for future generations, and help our local communities today.”

Landcare Australia CEO, Dr Shane Norrish said: “Our goal is to encourage, influence and educate students on how to care for their local environment in a hands-on way. To date the program has seen more than 110,000 fruit, vegetable and herb plants added to school gardens across the country. Through taking part, students learn new skills and knowledge such as composting, worm farming and planting bush tucker gardens, as well as an increased awareness of sustainability issues.”

The Woolworths Junior Landcare Grants program has been funded via the sale of Woolworths Bag for Good when Woolworths went single-use plastic bag free in 2018.

Applications for the 2022 Woolworths Junior Landcare Grants close on March 18th. To find out more about and to apply, visit landcareaustralia.org.au/woolworthsgrants