I’m a plant lover and I look up to friends who have green thumbs, especially those who are able to plant (and harvest) their own crops of vegetables and fruits, be it at their own corridor garden or at the community plots. In fact, I was a ‘Gardening Club’ member when I was in Primary School and spent my Saturday mornings pruning plants (Ladies Finger, Brinjal, Lime and more) under my teacher’s supervision! My Mom-in-Law who resides in Penang owns and curates a beautiful garden. When I heard that Garden By The Bay is organising a ‘Garden Troopers’ workshop for Primary Schoolers during the June School Vacation, I signed Dana up eagerly. It was a one day unaccompanied holiday programme designed to educate the children on plant care and to instill in them the love for plants.
The highlights of the workshop are its hands-on components and the collaboration with student volunteers from JCs who would be the group facilitators befriending and guiding the children participants. I thought the workshop was very well-run. Here’s our experience.
Upon arrival, the children will go to their assigned groups and introduce themselves to their group mates. While waiting for everyone to arrive, the children used the colouring materials to design a name card for themselves. This was followed by a few rounds of ice-breaker games led by the student facilitators. The children warmed up significantly after the games.
The horticulturists from Gardens By The Bay then shared some simple tips on how to propagate and care for plants. Even I learnt quite a lot from them.
The children were then tasked to do some hands-on planting. They donned little gardener gloves and were all raring to go! I was heartened to see the children so engrossed in their gardening, none of them complained of getting their hands dirty, nor found it boring. In fact, they were very focused on seeding, planting and watering their plants with tender loving care. In total, the children re-potted three types of plants which they will get to bring home. It’s such a wonderful sight to see so many budding junior horticulturists at work!
The children took an hour lunch break, tucking into the packed lunch provided by the organisers before resuming with an exciting Botanical Scavenger Hunt in the two cooled Conservatories: Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. They had to solve 8 riddles in the shortest time possible and snap a group wefie (photo) at each pit stop for bonus points. Talk about incorporating technology into learning! The Scavenger Hunt was fun and I especially like the fact that it required the children to use teamwork, initiative, observation, negotiation, inference and leadership skills to complete the challenge. All participants also picked up interesting botanical facts on the rich diversity of plants found in the Gardens. It was a valuable learning experience which textbooks cannot provide.
The final segment of the workshop took place after the Scavenger Hunt. Children were given a short introduction to the features and proper care of air plants. Then, they were given time to build their own air plant terrarium garden using colored sands! This was Dana’s fav bit and she was v proud to show her air plant terrarium to Daddy. The workshop ended with the announcement of the overall Botanical Scavenger Hunt winner and the children bade a fond farewell to their team mates as the student volunteers.
It has been such a fruitful day gaining new knowledge about plants and experiencing what it takes to be a horticulturist in an authentic, fun and non-threatening environment. I look forward to enrolling Dana in more of Gardens By The Bay’s educational workshops and would encourage all parents to do the same too! The next Garden Troopers workshop will be held during the November school holidays (i.e. 25 Nov 2016). Slots are limited (as they want to keep the group size small) so do sign up early to avoid disappointment.
Garden Troopers Holiday Programme – Useful Information:
Date: Friday, 25 November 2016
Time: 9am to 3.30pm
Venue: Bay South Garden, Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 18953
Phone: 6420 6843
Age Group: For kids 7 to 9 years old (P1 to 3)
Registration Website: Here
Fee: $80 per child. Friends of the Garden’s Member special at $60 per child.
*Programme fee includes admission to the Conservatories. Meals will be provided during the workshop. Registration closes on 31 Oct 2016 or when all spaces have been filled. Advance registration and payment are required. Walk-ins will not be entertained. For enquiries, email email@example.com or call +65 64206843.
Synopsis: Wondering how to get your child started on appreciating plants? This holiday, have him take on the role of a junior horticulturist and nurture his love for plants through hands-on activities and exciting games! Sign up today for a fun-filled session with these “green gems”!
Garden Troopers Highlights:
Pick up basic and useful plant care tips
Embark on a fast-paced botanical scavenger hunt
Create a mini air plant garden