The Early Sprouts Philosophy and Approach | 11
and texture (Sullivan and Birch 1994). So it seemed logical that providing preschool
children with multiple exposures to specific vegetables would increase their comfort
with and willingness to eat these vegetables. Based on this research, Early Sprouts
features six target vegetables and provides up to twelve exposures to each of the veg-
etables during the course of the twenty-four-week program.
In 2005, Karrie approached the Keene State College Child Development Center
about the possibility of piloting a project with three important components:
Organic garden beds1.
A twenty-four-week curriculum of sensory explorations and cooking 2.
activities for preschoolers
Family Recipe Kits to help families prepare the recipes at home3.
In the spring of 2006, the seeds were planted, both literally and figuratively, for
an ongoing partnership that has benefited all involved. As you read this book, you
will find the information to help you begin the program and to establish a similar
Guidelines for establishing garden beds p
Strategies for sensory explorations that enhance children’s scientific and p
literacy development and provide knowledge about vegetables
Healthy recipes specifically designed to be used with young children p
Tips for involving teachers and families in improving everyone’s personal p
Preschool children (ages two-and-a-half to five) are active learners who experi-
ence the world through their senses, physical involvement, and active play, and who
learn from the behaviors modeled by adults and peers. Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget
characterized children in this age range as being actively involved in constructing
their knowledge of the world through hands-on experiences (Mooney 2000). They
have mastered the basics of movement—walking, climbing, jumping, running—
and are refining their hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills. Preschoolers are
enthusiastic about using materials, trying new experiences, and communicating their
wants, needs, and ideas to others. They are able to follow directions, accomplish
self-help tasks independently, and solve simple problems. At this age, they are eager
to please adults, to be part of their family and community, and to make new friends
(Bredekamp and Copple 1997).
Young children also have an innate food neophobia, or fear of new foods. In
prehistoric times, this was a positive adaptation, because eating an unfamiliar food
EarlySprouts_interior.indd 11 1/23/09 4:36:16 PM