Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program kicks off 2022 with ECEC expansion

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program kicks off 2022 with ECEC expansion

by Freya Lucas

February 22, 2022

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program is well known in early childhood education and care (ECEC) circles for teaching children about fresh, seasonal, delicious food, boosting sustainability outcomes and community connections.

 

In 2022, the approximately 120 services already participating in the joy and benefits of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program will have the opportunity – along with any new services – to join up to an exclusive and intensive membership tier, the Kitchen Garden Program membership

 

A program membership allows early childhood services to delve further into their Kitchen Garden experience/journey and enables services to work towards a best-practice Kitchen Garden Program while still nurturing the uniqueness of service settings, shapes and sizes.

 

What does the program include? 

 

Membership in the program is a great way for early childhood services to delve deeper into their kitchen garden experience. The program builds on the learning and experience that the Kitchen Garden Foundation team gained during the first full year of delivery of the Kitchen Garden Program for Early Childhood in 2020/21.

 

“We are delighted to be expanding the program to more fully support members,” Josephene Duffy, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation CEO said. 

By undertaking a Kitchen Garden Program Membership, individual services will gain a deeper level of support and guidance to embed learnings from the program into their service. This, Ms Duffy explained, means that services can take ownership of their own development towards a best-practice kitchen garden program, and ensure the longevity of the program.

 

This membership tier provides a service’s kitchen garden team with the support and tools they need to embed the program and ensure the long-term benefits are nurtured. By participating in the program, services are supported to run a consistent program, and nurture program sustainability. 

 

Ensuring that programs continue even in the absence of core staff is an important consideration in light of persistent workforce shortages and ongoing challenges as a result of ongoing COVID-19 related isolation requirements. 

 

Consistent, tailored support 

 

Program participants receive ongoing support through the Foundation’s talented team, who offer individualised guidance, program framework and resources.

 

Membership, Foundation Projects Manager Natasha Grogan said, “enables services to work towards a best-practice Kitchen Garden Program while still nurturing the unique settings, shapes and sizes of early childhood services Australia wide.”

Access to one-on-one catch-ups with the Early Childhood Project Coordinator are available to program members, along with invaluable printed workbooks offering the framework and detailed information about setting up, growing and sustaining a Kitchen Garden Program.

 

Extensive links to early learning curriculums 

 

Perfect for little hands and curious minds, the Kitchen Garden Program for Early Childhood is a play-based, hands-on program that promotes a whole-service approach. 

 

Serving to instill lifelong positive habits in food, collaboration and learning, the Kitchen Garden Program for Early Childhood supports the implementation of the National Quality Standard (NQS) and links pleasurable food education to outcomes of the Early Years LearningFramework (EYLF).

 

One of the major benefits of a Program membership is access to online support tool, Trellis. Perfect for seamlessly integrating with an existing Quality Improvement Plan (QIP), or as an impetus for reviewing or creating a new plan, the self assessment tool is a “landing pad” to help services prioritise focus points and activities to progress their own kitchen garden goals, as well as providing clear guidance and individualised materials to move towards a best-practice kitchen garden. 

 

Emilia Boussioutas, an early years educator at Vista Valley Kindergarten said Trellis is a great way of consolidating existing programs in place at the service, integrating easily with existing programs and supporting educators to reflect. 

 

To learn more about the Kitchen Garden Program membership, and the many benefits it can offer your service, please see here, or contact Laura Norton, Early Childhood Project Coordinator on 03 8415 1993 or email [email protected] for more information. 

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