Preschool in Powell River emphasizes outdoor learning

Garden space furthers mission of childhood learning

Cranberry Eco Preschool has added a garden space to its early childhood education centre on Artaban Street.

According to a media release from inclusion Powell River (iPR), with an emphasis on outdoor learning, the preschool built the garden as an extension of its classroom after receiving a grant from qathet Regional District this spring. The new garden furthers the preschool’s mission of childhood learning and development through nature.

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A subsidiary of iPR and located at its Cranberry Children’s Centre on Artaban Street, Cranberry Eco Preschool runs a predominantly outdoor early education program for children aged three to five years, the release stated.

“We believe children develop and learn best in environments that are natural, and through activities that are child-led,” stated preschool coordinator Daniela D’Onofrio. “The garden will enhance learning by providing a hands-on environment in which the children can explore and engage.”

Currently, the preschool takes advantage of the forested area behind its building at the end of Artaban Street as a space where students can play and learn from their natural surroundings. Preschool teachers use examples found in the forest and outdoors for their learning activities, according to the release.

D’Onofrio stated she is excited by the ways the new garden will expand the children’s awareness of eco-systems, composting, and water conservation.

“The children will take part in planting, weeding, watering, composting and overall care of the garden area,” stated D’Onofrio. “We will provide tools and supplies for the children to support their learning and to work cooperatively.”

Working with local contractors Out On a Limb, and Acadian Coast Gardens, the garden includes a composter and rain barrel. Several raised beds have already been planted with blueberry plants, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, beans, and herbs, in preparation for the students’ return in the fall.

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