Six target vegetables, appropriate to the climate, are the focus of exploration and discovery through Early Sprouts. These children are growing tomatoes, green beans, bell peppers, Swiss chard, carrots, and butternut squash.
The curriculum is built on the following four components:
1. Organic gardening
Planting seeds, watching them grow, and harvesting vegetables helps set the stage for children to understand the source of the foods they eat.
Note: If space for a garden isn't available, many of the benefits of the curriculum can still be achieved through the other activities.
2. Sensory exploration
Young children learn through their senses and through movement. By sensory exploration we mean intentionally and activity using all of our senses to experience a food. In this way, Early Sprouts contributes to young children's brain growth and development.
3. Cooking and recipe development
Children are more willing to taste a new food when they have touched, smelled, and explored it, and they are more apt to eat what they have created. Early Sprouts recipes were specifically developed to reflect healthy nutritional principles and contain affordable ingredients. They feature simple directions that maximize children's ability to be involved in cooking.
4. Family Involvement
Families are encouraged to cook with their children to reinforce the classroom experience, and Family Recipe Kits are designed to make it easier. Children help pack their own recipe kits with key ingredients, along with detailed instructions for preparing recipes at home.