Theft leaves a sour taste

Central Leader - - News -

A les­son in the virtues of pa­tience has not paid off en­tirely for 45 Mt Al­bert preschool­ers.

Lit­tle Schol­ars’ three and fouryear-olds were wait­ing for their straw­ber­ries to ripen when the whole plant was ripped out of the gar­den.

Cen­tre manger Emma Nor­rie says when the chil­dren ar­rived for the day, ready to taste the fruits of their labour, their ex­cite­ment turned to dis­may.

“They no­ticed straight away that the plant was miss­ing and were pretty up­set so we talked to them about how oth­ers would grow and looked at what else we could eat,” Ms Nor­rie says.

“They were es­pe­cially an­noyed be­cause they wanted to pick the straw­ber­ries them­selves even though they weren’t quite ready. We were try­ing to teach them that the red­der the straw­berry, the sweeter it is.”

Since Oc­to­ber the early child­hood cen­tre, with the help of a par­ent, be­gan to grow their own veg­eta­bles in small gar­dens plot­ted around the cen­tre.

As well as plant­ing let­tuce, peas, beans and rock­mel­ons, a straw­berry patch was put into a planter box lo­cated be- side the road bound­ary fence. “We’ve re­ceived a Healthy Heart Award from the Heart Foun­da­tion and our par­ents took up the chal­lenge to show the kids how to grow your own veg­eta­bles. They’ve even made their own sal­ads too.”

The Healthy Heart pro­gramme en­cour­ages early child­hood cen- tres to pro­mote healthy eat­ing and ac­tive move­ment by pro­vid­ing staff with in­for­ma­tion, plan­ning tools and cur­ricu­lum guides.

Ms Nor­rie says the chil­dren quickly ac­cepted that some­one else re­ally wanted to eat their de­li­cious straw­ber­ries and are now con­cen­trat­ing on eat­ing the next ripe bunch.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Stolen straw­berry: Lit­tle Schol­ars man­ager Emma Nor­rie with pupils, from left: Char­lotte Kemp­ster, Ankit Kakanoor and Ti­mothy Hi­dalgo wait pa­tiently for their straw­ber­ries to ripen af­ter the orig­i­nal plant was stolen.

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