Sunflowers project delights children

PETRA FINER
Last updated 12:06 22/08/2014

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Kindergartens are growing great minds and green thumbs as a gardening project kicks off around the country.

Hawera's Koromiko Kindergarten was the first centre in New Zealand to sign up for the Daltons Sunflowers project this year.

Yesterday, Koromiko's 37 children planted their seeds and are now ready to help them grow.

One of 17 kindergartens in Taranaki and 236 in New Zealand to take part in the project, Koromiko head teacher Christina Bycroft said the project worked well with their ethos.

"We are a kindergarten that works with a focus on the environment," she said. "Watching the plants grow, measuring them and comparing them brings in added elements of learning such as natural science and numeracy."

Learning to care for the plants would help children gain a sense of responsibility and to better understand the concept of team- work, she said.

The Sunflowers in Kindies project was piloted last year in Auckland, Nelson-Tasman, Marlborough, Dunedin, and Christchurch and was so successful that this year it has opened up to kindy associations in Taranaki, Wellington, Tauranga and Waikato.

Daltons general manager Colin Parker said the main objective was to inspire and empower the next generation of Kiwi gardeners.

"There is something about sunflowers that really engages children," he said. "Last year it was great to see the joy on the kindergarten children's faces as they watched their sunflowers grow."

The project runs from August 18 until December 9 and at the end, each centre can nominate alittle gardener for a special prize.

Participating kindergartens can win a gardening workshop with TV's award-winning landscape designer Xanthe White.

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