The Seeds for Life Community Garden at the Page All Nations church in Page, Arizona, offers a creative evangelism approach that centers around connection and education. Pastor James and Nancy Crosby are finding new ways to connect with the community through an attractive garden greenhouse on a street corner—in the middle of town. Addressing a need for activities in Page for families with younger children, the idea of a gardening class for children ages two to six was born.
Starting on April 22, 2022, the Learn and Grow Gardening Class began under the shaded pavilion at the All Nations church. Every Tuesday afternoon during the following eight weeks, from six to nine toddlers with one of their parents gathered for some outdoor education and fun. Each class began with a short lesson about a garden topic, continued with crafts and hands-on activities in the garden, and ended with an upbeat goodbye song with motions that the children learned by heart. The first week in the garden, the children learned about tools and safety in the garden. They were able to hold different tools that were just their size and take a nature scavenger hunt through the garden.
At the next class, each child had the opportunity to pick out their own seeds and get their hands in the dirt to plant a little pot. The children examined different kinds of soil to determine the best kind for their plants. The children learned more about germination and the parts of a plant as they looked at seedlings and small plants already growing in the garden. By the end of the next class, the children could identify the parts of a plant and were eagerly watching their plants germinate.
In the following weeks, the children learned about different kinds of fruits and vegetables that grow in the garden and how to take care of their plants. They learned about how different weather affects the garden and how God sends the sunshine and rain to help our gardens grow. During the classes, the children were able to enjoy baby chicks in their little cage and cautiously look at the beehive where bees swarmed in and out, pollinating plants in the garden. The children learned that chickens help to scratch up the soil for planting and keep away bugs.
After nine weeks, the little group left with many happy memories from their time in the Learn and Grow program. The All Nations church looks forward to building on these relationships and new connections in their community. Their prayer is that the seeds of truth will blossom in the hearts of these children as they continue to learn and grow.
By Anne Crosby