Tyler Pre-schoolers learning health lessons in their garden

Tyler Pre-schoolers learning health lessons in their garden

TYLER (KYTX) - Students at the Tyler Day Nursery are learning early why good nutrition and exercise are important to their health. The Smith County Master Gardeners are part of that powerful equation helping cultivate the little ones into growers themselves.  The School and Master Gardeners are hoping what they learn in the garden now will help them as they grow.

The relationship between the Tyler Day Nursery and the Smith County Master Gardeners started 15 years ago. It has grown from two small gardens to a large garden where the students learn the importance of fresh fruits and veggies.
"Pumpkins, we've got our pumpkins," says a Smith County Master Gardener to the children.

Every Monday morning pre-schoolers at the Tyler Day Nursery make the garden their classroom.

"Seeds and we water the plants," says Aeirryhinna, a student.
"This is a very good educational lesson for the children. A lot of them will rarely come into contact with fresh vegetables or fruits, if it was not for this program," says Jaquita Lee, the Executive Director of Tyler Day Nursery.

The Smith County Master Gardeners use the fruits of their labor to teach lessons in nutrition to the 4 and 5 year olds. Volunteers like Jean Smith explain the importance of eating fresh produce and how to sustain a garden themselves.

"We weed, we water, we plant. We do it all and at the end of the year, we hope we harvest something and we can have a little celebration with what they grow," says Jean Smith 

Over the summer, the students grew a watermelon and tasted a bit of their success. Today's class tours the garden stopping to smell the basil.

"They all enjoy being out here. Their favorite thing at the end of the day is to get a sprig of herbs they can take back in. Rosemary is their favorite," says Jean Smith, Master Gardener of Smith County. 
"It's just so exciting to see them so excited about having something fresh. And they are going home and encouraging the parents to cook with the fresh things that they've grown in their garden at school," says Lee.

When the students head inside from the garden, the lesson turns from nutrition to exercise.

"It can actually help stop some of the childhood obesity and some of the diabetics at an early age," says Lee. "Getting out to get around and move, so when they get older, moving is nothing new to them. It's something they've done for a very long time."

Together the Tyler Day Nursery and Smith County Master Gardeners plant seeds for a healthy future.

The Smith County Master Gardeners recently received the "Helping Hands" award for all they do nourish the students at Tyler Day Nursery.


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