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.

Planting

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

Preventing cross-contamination

  • 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

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