Back from left: Benjamin McNoe, Jules Rouxel-Andre. Front from left: Zahkylagh Thomson-Williams, Lachie O’Malley. Photo Supplied

Despite battling COVID lockdowns and restrictions, joy and smiles have been apparent on the faces of children in 236 kindergartens nationwide thanks to sunflowers grown in the Daltons Sunflowers in Kindergartens Project.

Over the past four months, 11,694 kindy children have begun their journey as the next generation of gardeners, learning about gardening through competing to grow the tallest sunflower and widest sunflower head in their region.

The winner of the Tallest Sunflower in the region was Kidsfirst Kindergartens Cromwell, with their sunflower plant measuring in at 209cm.

Teacher Nicola Brown says: The tamariki at Kidsfirst Kindergartens Cromwell spend a lot of time nurturing our sustainable garden, which is the heart of our kindergarten, with whānau even getting involved over the holiday breaks taking turns to water our growing plants.

The tamariki have been especially invested in growing our sunflowers this year, wanting to grow them as tall as possible.

Our kindergarten whānau have worked hard nurturing the seeds to grow and then celebrating the beautiful sunflowers when they bloom in thanks to the tamariki for their mahi and tiaki.”

Daltons General Manager, Colin Parker, says; “A big thank you to all the teachers who got behind the Project, despite the many challenges they faced pretty much from day one!

We have been blown away at how they adapted, with some teachers making up individual packs for children to grow plants at home or taking seedlings to their own homes and caring for them until they were able to get back into their kindergartens.

Through all of this they have kept children engaged and supported them to develop a love of gardening, which is what the Project is all about!”

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