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Sunflower success for tiny tots

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A passion for gardening has taken root in almost 250 kindergartens nationwide thanks to seeds sown by the Daltons Sunflowers in Kindergartens Project.

Over the past four months, a staggering 13,024 kindergarten tots have been aiming to grow the tallest sunflower and widest sunflower head in their region. Today we can proudly reveal the winners.

Winners were named today from each of the eleven regions (see below), reflecting the diversity in growing conditions throughout the country. The key goals of the biennial project, are to create a fun and exciting environment for pre-school children to learn valuable gardening knowhow and to develop a love of gardening by growing their own Kings Seeds ‘Skyscraper’ sunflower. The striking plant can grow up to 4 metres tall! All of the regional winners will receive a prize from Daltons and The Warehouse.

This year, the tallest sunflower nationwide came in at a whopping 341cms and was cultivated by Te Rapa Early Learning Centre. This was also the tallest sunflower in the history of the Project.

The team at Te Rapa Early Education Centre, Margaret, Trina and Nicky, commented; "Thanks Daltons for an amazing opportunity to be part of the Sunflowers in Kindergartens Project. We are an Enviroschool so growing things is something we are all passionate about.

"All the children have been so excited to see all the changes occurring at the different stages of their sunflowers. There have been many opportunities for teachers to integrate aspects of the project into our learning curriculum, extending the children’s curiosity and working theories of the world. The goal of Daltons was to spark children’s interest and love of gardening, and this project has definitely done this, not only for our children and staff but also their families and the extended community."

Northland’s Mairtown Kindergarten took out the Overall Best Photo with their picture of little grower, Teddy, measuring the kindergarten’s tallest sunflower.

There was also a national prize draw to win a visit from award-winning landscape designer Xanthe White, who will run a personalised gardening workshop. The winning kindy was Pigeon Mountain Kindergarten in Auckland.

Each kindergarten nominated their own 'Daltons Best Little Gardener' who were rewarded with a special certificate and prize. And every child who took part also received their own certificate as a special keepsake.

Daltons General Manager, Colin Parker, says; "A big congratulations to all of our project winners! We want to thank our project partners and the 11 participating kindergarten associations. A special thanks to the teachers who got behind the project - we understand it’s no easy feat keeping on top of a gardenful of passionate little gardeners and their sunflower plants! We hope the project has sparked a lifelong passion for plants and gardening in the children."

Teachers were supported throughout the project with regular newsletters full of information about sunflowers, learning sheets and fun activities. The children benefited by being exposed to basic math concepts, through measuring and recording their plant’s growth each week, which was integrated into their learning curriculum.

Daltons provided a starter pack with everything the kindergartens needed to make the growing process successful.

This year kindergartens across eleven regions took part; Auckland, Nelson Tasman, Marlborough, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Taranaki, Tauranga, Waikato, Central Kindergartens and newcomer, Northland.

The official regional winners of the Daltons Sunflowers in Kindy’s project are:

Daltons Tallest Sunflower Plant Winners:

Auckland Regional Winner: Ponsonby Kindergarten, 316cm

Central North Island Regional Winner: Central Kids Otorohanga Kindergarten, 285cm

Christchurch Regional Winner: Kidsfirst Kindergartens Hei Hei, 220cm

Dunedin Regional Winner: Mosgiel Central Kindergarten, 150cm

Marlborough Regional Winner: Witherlea Kindergarten, 197cm

Nelson Tasman Regional Winner: Grove Street Kindergarten, 279cm

Northland Regional Winner: Ruawai Kindergarten, 294cm

Taranaki Regional Winner: Devon Kindergarten, 188cm

Tauranga Regional Winner: Brookfield Kindergarten, 251cm

Waikato Regional Winner: Te Rapa Early Education Centre, 341cm

Wellington Regional Winner: Marie McFarland Kindergarten, 198cm

Daltons Widest Sunflower Head Winners (measurement is of the face only - not including petals):

Auckland Regional Winner: Mt Roskill Kindergarten,21cm

Central North Island Regional Winner: Central Kids Kindergarten Apanui, 13cm

Nelson Tasman Regional Winner: Grove Street Kindergarten, 10cm

Northland Regional Winner: Ruawai Kindergarten, 35cm

Taranaki Regional Winner: Stratford Central Kindergarten, 4cm

Tauranga Regional Winner: Papamoa Coast Kindergarten, 18cm

Waikato Regional Winner: Frankton Kindergartens Waikato, 27cm

Wellington Regional Winner: Pikopiko Kindergarten, 8cm

Winner of workshop with Xanthe White

- Pigeon Mountain Kindergarten (Auckland)

Overall best photo

- Mairtown Kindergarten (Northland)

This year Daltons will also run the ‘Late Bloomers Awards’ to acknowledge kids who are up against it geographically, or have experienced particularly bad weather. These winners will be announced in February once all sunflowers have bloomed.

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