Safe Environments (Child Care Manual)
Children love to explore through outdoor play. It keeps them active and stimulates their imagination. Creating a safe outdoor environment in various weather conditions facilitates a play area conducive to learning while minimizing the risk and ill health effects.
Gardening at child care centres
Choosing a location
Choosing the right location for your garden is very important. To prevent contamination of soil and produce, avoid building a garden near:
- Waste storage areas
- Areas prone to flooding
- Septic systems
- Parking lots
Building the garden
If you decide to build a raised garden, make sure to use safe materials. You can contaminate the soil if you use chemically treated materials, such as pressure-treated lumber and railway ties.
Once you pick the right location and are ready to plant, follow these tips for a safe, healthy garden:
- Start with clean soil
- If you decide to use fertilizer, use only store bought fertilizer and follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Wash your hands properly after gardening
- Change and wash your clothes if they become dirty. This prevents contaminating other areas.
- Avoid using raw manure and compost
Keeping pests away
Pests, such as rabbits, deer and rodents, can impact the health and productivity of your garden.
- Maintain the area surrounding your garden
- Remove rotting fruits and vegetables
- Pull weeds by hand to keep the garden weed free
- Do not use pesticides.
Watering fruits and vegetables
- Use safe, potable (drinkable) water only
- Avoid using water collected by a rain barrel when watering fruits and vegetables
- Wash hands before and after picking produce
- Brush, shake or rub off soil and debris before storing produce in harvest containers
- Choose harvest containers that are smooth, readily cleanable and non-absorbent
- Regularly clean containers thoroughly
Storing and preparing garden produce
- Wash and prepare the fruits and vegetables in the kitchen on a thoroughly cleaned work surface
- Clean hands and utensils thoroughly before they come into contact with the produce
- Store separately produce from the garden and store-bought produce
- Always wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking with them
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Last updated: Sept. 30, 2019