The “ABC of Better Me” Program Continues: Our Gardens are Growing Again
How do strawberries grow? Why should we pluck weeds? How do earthworms help plants? Thanks to our “ABC of Better Me” program, children in preschools learn the answers to these and many other questions related to environmental protection and the growth of fruits and vegetables.
For children, gardens hide a completely new world full of discoveries and creativity. Planting seeds and monitoring their growth, cultivating the land and harvesting fruits are all activities in which a child can participate and that way acquire some new skills. From an early age, children learn how to respect and take care of the environment and it is easier for them to adopt healthy eating habits when they understand how fruits and vegetables are made and what their benefits are.
Bearing in mind the importance of quality of children’s nutrition, the Novak Djokovic Foundation, in cooperation with experts and nutritionists, created the “ABC of Better Me“ program with the aim to support early childhood development by helping children adopt new knowledge about nature and natural processes, as well as healthy eating habits.
A key part of the program is the establishment and maintenance of gardens in preschools throughout Serbia, together with preschool teachers and children. Onions, zucchini, strawberries, spinach, potatoes are just some of the healthy foods that children grow in our preschool gardens with the help of their teachers and they eat together later on.
So far, we have built our gardens in 7 preschools in different parts of Serbia: in Belgrade, Svilajnac, Ub, Jagodina and Pecinci.
As part of the “ABC of Better Me” program, we also organize special training for teachers to work with children in gardens, in order to introduce them to this new world in the best and most interactive way possible and to transfer their knowledge to other colleagues. In this way, we ensure the sustainability of our program and build a community that nurtures healthy eating habits.
Unfortunately, the current coronavirus pandemic has prevented us from further developing our program for a certain period, but our team, with the support of the partner “Serbia Organica” and the Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut”, continued to adapt the work to all new challenges. We renewed the seedlings and prepared for a new cycle of training for teachers.
The children took the buckets and rakes in their hands again, and lettuce, strawberries and onions are already sprouting. Gardens are established according to the principles of organic production, so that the fruits are eventually used as part of preschool meals, with the goal of showing children how nature and nutrition are connected.
We can’t wait to show you how children and teachers will enjoy the gardens when all the fruits, vegetables and herbs grow. If you want to support the establishment of gardens in other preschools throughout Serbia, you can join us via this link.