Grit Blogs > Across the Fence

Ogden Publications Helps Local Preschoolers Dig Gardening

By Brandy Ernzen


Tags: TDC Learning Centers Inc., Gardening, Children in the Garden, Tomatoes, Toddlers,

A photo of Brandy Ernzen

GRIT Guest Blogger Brandy Ernzen hails from a small Kansas town, and is working to re-learn those wonderful country skills from her childhood. She’s also GRIT’s public relations manager.

Kind hearts are gardens,
Kind thoughts are roots,
Kind words are blossoms,
Kind deeds are fruits.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, adapted into a children’s nursery rhyme

What can be better than when the kind deed is a garden?

When will this thing finally turn red?

I can’t think of anything better than watching curtain-climbers go wild in the garden. Their sense of wonder at even the smallest thing – a caterpillar on a leaf, a new fruit on the vine – amazes me every time.

When TDC Learning Centers Inc, a nonprofit childcare and early education provider in Topeka, approached our company about sponsoring their school gardens, we jumped at the chance.

TDC Director Kerry Tummons wanted the kids to learn – and get excited – about growing their own healthy food. Once the kids were hooked, they’d get their families interested. The kids, ages 2 1/2 to 5, also use the garden to learn about science, math, language, nurturing and teamwork.

And get this: The older kids even journal about their experiences. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find a few budding journalists!

Ogden donated garden tools and money for materials to start gardens at the center’s four locations. Hank Will, GRIT’s editor, met with the TDC folks to figure out what to plant, when and how to prep the soil. Caleb Regan (GRIT) and Shelley Stonebrook (MOTHER EARTH NEWS) offered up seeds from their home gardens.

These eager preschoolers weed the raised bed at TDC’s Crestview   location, while a few others aren’t so sure.

In addition, Rogue Hoe, one of our advertisers, pitched in hoes and heirloom seeds, and Skinner Garden Store added seeds to get the project going.

The kids are growing tomatoes, green peppers, bush beans, cucumbers, corn, carrots and cantaloupe. While it’s hard to get a read on their favorite crops, their favorite chore is clear: watering. For these guys, the messier the chore, the better!

Paxton gives the toddlers’ tomato plant a good dousing.

According to Kerry, the teachers and kids are already planning to expand next year’s gardens.

NOTE: TDC seeks community support to offer a sliding-scale fee so that quality care can be affordable for all income levels.