Grant holder
Olivene Burke, Mona Social Services - The University of the West Indies, Jamaica
Project status

A project based at The University of West Indies creating a Froebelian kitchen garden with a sustainable water supply at the Hope Valley Experimental School in Kingston, Jamaica.

Dr Olivene Burke at Mona Social Services was awarded a Froebel Trust grant to examine how the educational experience of children in infant schools can be improved through a kitchen garden.

Mona Social Services is an organisation which "primarily works within low income and underserved communities surrounding The University of West Indies (UWI)." This project was based at Hope Valley Experimental School - a school which supports approximately 1,000 children between the ages of 5 and 12.

"This initiative captures Froebel’s belief in utilising practical work and direct use of materials in children's educational experience... The school kitchen garden project will grow mostly vegetables to supplement the school’s feeding program. The proposed implementation of a kitchen garden is underscored by prior exploratory observation by kindergarten schoolteachers who observed that infants suffered from inadequate access to nutritional meals, due to the economic background of their families." Dr Olivene Burke, project leader

"A report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome (2021), asserts that “the COVID-19 pandemic was having a devastating impact on the world’s economy and that the food security and nutrition status of millions of people, including children, would deteriorate if we did not take swift action.” This is the reality for low-socioeconomic communities like those comprising the Greater August Town (GAT) area in Jamaica. The kindergarten/infant schools which service the communities are hindered from imparting effective teaching and providing a holistic learning environment considering that a significant portion of their school population suffers from food insecurity and irregular water supply." Dr Olivene Burke, project leader

The research team leading this project planned to "undertake research to assess how the establishment of a kitchen garden assists with the early childhood learning curriculum and development."

"Research of this nature is important, considering that many kindergarten schools within marginalised communities lack green spaces or natural components that may be utilised in an integrative teaching approach." Dr Olivene Burke, project leader

Read the final report for this project.

Children & Nature

Collection of resources for educators

Experience and understanding of nature were central to Froebel’s ideas. Take a look at a collection of case studies and our free resources for educators interested in gardening, outdoor play, nature connections and sustainability in early childhood education.

Learn more