Children as young as four should be taught gardening skills as part of a bid to combat obesity, teachers have declared.
Delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers’ annual conference in Liverpool have voted to urge the Government to put gardening on the primary school curriculum. Natasha Bradley, from Derbyshire – whose school has a garden – told the conference. “Some of our children now love eating things they would never have touched before – such as kale and spinach.”
She added: “It doesn’t have to be a standalone thing – for instance, you can ask how many seeds are there in a packet and get them to count them out (in maths)… Children love it and they get a proper value out of it.”
Cecilia Olley, from Swindon, added: “There are an awful lot of obese children. You take them to the swimming pool and they take their clothes off and you think all these children should lose weight.”
The motion urged the Government “to bring gardening into the primary school curriculum so as to educate pupils about the need to eat healthy foods and the benefits and enjoyment of growing such foods which may also help to combat obesity.”
Researchers claim that learning gardening can foster a love of cookery. Ms Bradley said: “Children learn the value of cooking things properly – not boiling a cabbage to death.”
Andrew Bradley, also from Derbyshire, said that – in some areas – obesity appeared to be an accepted way of life. He said: “Gardening can be an extension of the Government’s cookery programme. We can see this develop from planning to plate.
“Give a child a carrot and you can feed it for a meal. Teach a child to garden and you can feed it for life,” the chairman of school governors said.