Ian Potter Foundation and the Early Years Project

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

For the past three years, the Ian Potter Foundation has generously supported the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation through a second phase of funding for the Early Years Project. 

The first phase began in 2016 when we developed sector-specific learning resources for early childhood services and trialled them with 15 early childhood services in Victoria.  This period allowed us to monitor, evaluate, and refine the Early Years Project for wider implantation. Further funding in 2019 initiated the program's expansion over an additional three years. 

During this second phase, we have grown our early childhood member base and engaged early childhood educators right across Australia. We now have over 170 early childhood service members who have joined the Kitchen Garden Program, representing 100% coverage across Australia, with at least one member in every state and territory.

We proudly equip early childhood educators with robust resources to achieve quality learning outcomes with children. 61 new early childhood learning resources were created for the Shared Table - our online resource library and community hub - and 500 existing learning resources were identified as appropriate for early childhood settings. 

All early childhood learning resources are integrated with the Five Learning Outcomes set out in the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) as well as the National Quality Framework (NQF). The EYLF Framework draws on robust Australian and international evidence that confirms early childhood is a vital period in children’s continuing learning, development and wellbeing. The NQF provides a national approach to regulation, assessment and quality improvement for early childhood education and outside school hours care services across Australia.

 

 

“The Kitchen Garden Program for Early Childhood is the best sustainability program I have come across. You have access to an amazing variety of resources and one-on-one support to effectively grow your own vegetable garden and prepare your own meals with the children.”

- Princes Close Childcare Centre

 

Early Childhood educators are engaging with our Support Team and Professional Development opportunities, regularly demonstrating their thirst for new skills and their creative adaptability in delivering pleasurable food education. Over the project period, the Early Childhood Project Offer conducted 70 one-on-one meetings, and over 150 early childhood educators attended professional development webinars, workshops, and events.

The ripple effects on the community and families have been felt, too. Vista Valley Kindergarten in Victoria explains, “Families get involved in the kitchen and garden at drop off and pick up times. They participate in a short activity with their child in the garden. The children love it because they see their families involved and contributing. Parents have gifted us two avocado trees, a capsicum plant and marigolds to add to our veggie patch. It’s wonderful to see that the Foundation’s philosophy is embedded in practice with our families and community.” 

The demand for the Kitchen Garden Program from early childhood services is still strong. Over 640 early childhood educators registered for free Information Sessions about the Early Childhood Program. We are extremely grateful for the generosity and support of the Ian Potter Foundation that has enabled this valuable phase to encourage adaptation and growth for early childhood settings. 

We thank the Early Childhood Advisory Committee members who provided their expertise and invaluable insights in the early stages to guide us in the development of the program for early childhood: Julie Lemmon at Clarendon Children’s Centre Co-operative, Emilia Boussioutas at Vista Valley Kindergarten, Sarah Stoddart at Waverly Meadows Preschool and Rachel Konstintinou at Hawthorn Early Years.

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 to teaching children about fresh, seasonal, delicious food.  Talk to us to find how easily the Kitchen Garden Program can be integrated into your service – whether starting out big or small. Call the Support Team on13000 SAKGF (13000 72543) or membership@kitchengardenfoundation.org.au or attend an upcoming info session.



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