The “Sagrado Corazón de Jesús” daycare is a splash of colour among the brown buildings of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The centre offers pre-school education and, importantly, nutritious snacks and meals daily, with support from Chalice’s nutrition program.
For the littlest ones, trying new foods can be challenging. Fresh produce isn’t always easy for their parents to buy, so many children are tasting certain fruits and vegetables for the first time at lunch. And, being children, vegetables are not always their favourite!
To cultivate an enthusiasm for fresh, healthy fruits and veggies, the staff have started a community garden. The staff’s goal was to create “a space where children and parents can interact with nature.” Their hope was that the children would value the vegetables when they were the harvest of their own efforts. Little did they know that both the children and their parents would fall in love with gardening.
“The gardens in the children’s center have become a playful activity for our children,” says Eusebia, who teaches the three-year-olds. “They release tensions [and] get out of the daily routine, they have fun.” And when little ones are having fun, they don’t realize that Eusebia and María are instilling life-long values in them. “They take care of the vegetable garden with great excitement, and both the children and their families…are involved in the activity.”
“Fostering… that love and respect for their natural environment is part of our work as educators,” says María, who teaches the four-year-olds.
The daycare team is thrilled by how enthusiastically the community has taken to the kitchen garden, and how meaningful a teaching tool it’s become. The Fatima site staff passes along their gratitude to everyone who supported agriculture through Chalice’s gift catalogue.
“This experience could not have been given without the support and generosity of the Chalice family,” they write. “All the children, the teaching staff and the parents bless and honor the noble work of Chalice in favor of the children of our community.”