Youth Services Co-op builds special picnic tables
ABRAM-VILLAGE – Sept. 23, 2015 – Thanks to The Hard Workers Youth Services Co-op and its “Jardins de la relève / Gardens for the Future” project, the Island’s six francophone preschool centers will each get new tools – including a picnic table equipped with seed trays – to show young children how vegetables grow and how healthy they are.
Stéphane Blanchard, youth economic development officer with RDÉE Prince Edward Island, suggested the idea last spring when he was trying to come up with new projects for the Youth Services Co-op that he supervises.
He learned that the Réseau Santé en français Î.-P.-É. (PEI French Health Network) was accepting proposals for projects that would help promote healthy living. After consulting with the six preschool centers to explain his idea and to obtain their support, he submitted his project. At the end of August, he was informed that the $1,500 proposal had been approved.
“The Health Network found that the project, aimed at a very young clientele, fits in well with the objective of its health promotion initiative: To reinforce the capacity of individuals and communities to take charge of their own health and wellbeing in French, thereby contributing to improve the overall state of health of the Acadian and Francophone community of PEI,” notes Patricia Richard, assistant director of the Health Network.
“With the funds we received, we bought the lumber and the materiel required to build six little picnic tables designed to stimulate children aged 1 to 5 years to learn a bit about gardening,” explains Blanchard. “The young members of the Youth Services Co-op, aged 12 to 17 years, then built the tables under the supervision of the co-op’s coordinators. Three tables were built by the young co-op members in the Evangeline area and the three other ones by the members from the Charlottetown region.”
He noted the top of each table has three functions. First of all, it can serve simply as a regular picnic table. When the table surface is removed, there is a box that can serve as a sandbox. When the sand is removed, the space can hold plastic seed trays, filled with rich soil, in which one can plant vegetables or herbs.
Next spring, the children will be able to learn how to plant seeds and how to care for their sprouting vegetables and herbs. There is also a possibility of transplanting these plants into small gardens to give them more room to grow.
Blanchard recently delivered the tables to the preschool centres in Abram-Village, Deblois, Summerside, Charlottetown, Fortune and Rustico. The executive directors of the preschools gratefully accepted the gift since they will serve as both a learning tool and a games table.
CUTLINE: Participating in the official presentation of the first picnic table of the Gardens of the Future project were, in the front row, Pierrette Arsenault, executive director of the Abram-Village preschool, Centre éducatif Pomme et Rinette; the young Kallie Gallant, a client of the preschool; and Morgan Arsenault, a member of the Hard Workers Youth Services Co-op who helped build the picnic tables. In the back row are Stéphane Blanchard, youth economic development officer with RDÉE Prince Edward Island, and Patricia Richard, assistant director of the Réseau Santé en français Î.-P.-É.
For more information:
Youth economic development officer
RDÉE Prince Edward Island
(902) 370-7333, Ext. 402