My fascination with nature, is a gift I received from avid gardener Philippe, my father, who was always keen in surprising me with some unusual plant, animal, or insect.
I became a keen gardener, and birding spiked another curiosity. I made time to do a post-graduate diploma in horticulture and to run a programme at local pre-primary and primary schools teaching young children about plants.
However, my love of nature was always a hobby as I pursued my career as an educator, and being a parent of two kids. Then COVID came and substantially reduced my hours as a freelance educator and facilitator. This was hard but also a blessing. It gave me time to re-landscape my garden, propagate plants, start a permaculture garden and raise chickens. During these activities, I also rediscovered the satisfaction of reusing and recycling non-plastic waste from the local dumping site!
Then started garden explorations with stories and facts about plants and bugs for my niece Keilah’s, little son and his friends. These were so popular that they suggested I should offer this as a service to parents with young kids. Green Kids grew from there.
The first Green Kids holiday programme for 4 to 6-year-olds focused on a few nature themes, and I have since added a programme for 7 to 11 year-olds. I have been running Green Kids for nearly two years now. I have learned to cope with the weather and to use opportunities provided by the seasons.
Since many kids (about 70%) kept coming back, I had to develop new attractive topics, lessons, experiences and fun activities. No spoilers, but worms, spiders, the fishpond, birds’ nests and chickens are just as necessary as seeds, plants, healthy organic food, and mud!
In our world where experience is increasingly framed by the rectangle of a cellphone or computer screen, I feel I have found a new calling in immersing more children in the surprise and joy of soil, plants, and insects that my father shared with me when I was a child.
As Green Kids has grown, I have recruited some dynamic university graduates as facilitators while I remain very hands-on and committed to developing the dream - providing fun and inclusive opportunities to help young minds to embrace nature.
Our planet's future depends on us, and us on it.
Rondebosch (off Milner Road), Cape Town, South Africa
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