CFN – Children and youth served by the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre shared the fruits and vegetables of their labour at the first “Children Play Garden” Party.
The children have spent the past four months planting, weeding, watering and caring for their new garden. Today, they celebrated the harvest by picking and sharing the vegetables they had grown.
“I don’t think there is anything more rewarding than to see a young child, who’s a picky eater, with a smile as big as the cucumber he is holding, talking about how he can’t wait to get home to eat his vegetables,” said Josée Seguin, Clinical Coordinator of the Cornwall Program.
The children are all part of the local children’s rehabilitation centre that provides speech language, occupational and physiotherapy to children with a developmental and/or physical disability. The children at the Centre may have cerebral palsy, autism or any number of chronic disabilities that would traditionally limit their ability to get into the garden to play.
But with the support of the local community, funds and resources were donated to build the raised garden, which has ramps for wheel chair access and walls the perfect height for little gardeners.
One client benefiting from this program has noticed its positive effects. Before the program, the child always struggled with sensory issues and was reluctant to touch anything with a rough or dirty texture. But now, we notice that he is in the garden, digging and holding the vegetables and really overcoming the fears that prevented him from playing like other children his age.
Having the Garden on-site provides a wonderful tool to the care providers who have involved children in the gardening process from the beginning – teaching them about how plants grown and where their food comes from.
Together, they have been working on therapy skills, like watering plants to develop hand-eye coordination, or holding on to the plants to enhance their sensory skills. And, the harvested vegetables have been going home each week with participants, providing healthy additions to their dinner plates.
- The Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre provides services to approximately 360 families in the district of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry area.
- The children served by the Children’s Treatment Centre have been diagnosed with a developmental and/or physical
- The program allowed therapists to work with the children to develop:
- Hand-eye coordination skills – through watering the plants
- Sensory perception skills – through planting seeds, working in the dirt, picking the vegetables
- Fine motor skills – through use of small tools, working with seeds
- The raised garden bed cost just under $5000 to build and was supported by donations and contributions from:
- Home Depot
- Nav Canada Corporate Sponsorship
- Marlin Orchards and Garden Centre
- Moise H Jr. Trucking
- City of Cornwall
- Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation