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Sunflower stars all over the country!

Sunflower stars all over the country!

4-year-old Māia from Fairfield Kindergarten (Waikato) reaches for her sunflowers!

A love of gardening has taken root in more than 220 kindergartens nationwide thanks to the Daltons Sunflowers in Kindergartens Project. Over the past four months 11,700 kindergarten children have been working hard to grow the tallest sunflower and widest sunflower head in their region - and today the biggest and best sunflower stars were revealed.

To reflect the variety of growing conditions throughout New Zealand, winners were named from each of the ten regions (see below). The key objective of the now biennial project, is to create a fun environment for pre-school children to learn valuable gardening skills by growing their own Kings Seeds ‘Skyscraper’ sunflower - which can grow up to 4 metres tall! All of the regional winners will receive a prize from Daltons and The Warehouse, who came on as a project partner this year.

This year, the tallest sunflower ever grown in the project’s history came in at a whopping 3.20m (which is about half the height of an average Giraffe!) and was cultivated by Frankton Kindergarten, who also took out the Tallest and Widest Sunflower Award for the Waikato region.

Headteacher, Fleur Bethel, says; “Being part of Dalton’s Sunflowers in Kindergartens Project has been a fabulous experience for all. The tamariki and kaiako have enjoyed caring for, measuring, and observing the development of the plants. Families/whanau and the community have commented on how wonderful they look and how they want to grow some of their own! Thanks Dalton’s for such a great learning opportunity for our tamariki.”

Fairfield Kindergarten in the Waikato took out the Overall Best Photo with their gorgeous picture of 4-year-old Māia who loved to compare her height against the growing sunflowers.

Teacher, Natasha Browne, says; “We have loved being involved in the Dalton’s sunflowers in kindergartens project. It’s been great to see our tamariki learn new skills while enjoying the outdoors, digging in the soil, watering our plants and watching them grow as tall as our kindergarten!”

Arataki Kindergarten in Mt Maunganui and Edmonds Smith Street Kindergarten in Woolston, Christchurch won the big national prize draw of a visit to their kindergarten from TV personality and award-winning landscape designer Xanthe White, who will run a personalised gardening workshop.

Each kindergarten nominated their own 'Daltons Best Little Gardener' who received a special certificate and prize. Every child who took part also receives their own certificate as a special keepsake.

Daltons General Manager, Colin Parker, says; “Our Sunflowers in Kindergartens Project is all about growing an interest in gardening by giving the littlest hands the chance to get dirty. The children loved taking a tiny seed, caring for it, and watching it turn into a huge blooming flower. The results delivered smiles to both the teachers and children, which was everything we hoped for. Congratulations to all our winners and a big thank you to our project partners.”

Teachers received regular support material to bring the sunflower learning to life with special activities and facts to integrate into aspects of the early childhood education curriculum, for example; science, maths, fine motor skill development, literacy, art and music.

The project kicked off on 21 August with kindys having until 5pm on 06 December to submit pictures and measurements of their star sunflower. Daltons provided everything the kindies needed to make the growing process successful and easy including a starter pack containing everything they needed to grow stunning sunflowers.
This year kindergartens across ten regions took part; Auckland, Nelson Tasman, Marlborough, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Waikato, and newcomer, Central Kindergartens.

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

Daltons Tallest Sunflower Plant Winners:

• Auckland Regional Winner: Te Atatu Peninsula Kindergarten, Te Atatu: 3.12m tall, Auckland Kindergarten Association

• Central Kindergartens Regional Winner: David Henry Kindergarten, Tokoroa: 2.51m tall, Central Kids Kindergartens

• Christchurch Regional Winner: Kidsfirst Macfarlane Park, Shirley: 2.02m tall, Kidsfirst Kindergartens Christchurch

• Dunedin Regional Winner: Helen Deem Kindergarten, St Clair: 1.80m tall, Dunedin Kindergarten Association (third time winner)

• Marlborough Regional Winner: Witherlea Kindergarten, Blenheim: 1.35m tall, Marlborough Kindergarten Association (third time winner)

• Nelson Tasman Regional Winner: Grove Street Kindergarten, Nelson: 2.58m tall, Nelson Tasman Kindergarten Association (fourth time winner)

• Taranaki Regional Winner: Te Oranga Marfell Kindergarten, Marfell (New Plymouth): 1.27m tall, Kindergarten Taranaki (Association)

• Tauranga Regional Winner: Avenues Kindergarten, Tauranga: 2.89m tall, Inspired Kindergartens and Home Based Education

• Waikato Regional Winner: Frankton Kindergarten, Frankton: 3.20m tall (tallest ever grown nationally in the project’s history), Waikato Kindergarten Association

• Wellington Regional Winner: Trentham Kindergarten, Upper Hutt: 1.86m tall, Wellington Kindergarten Association

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

• Auckland Regional Winner: Kauri Park Kindergarten, Birkdale: 32cm wide, Auckland Kindergarten Association

• Central Kindergartens Regional Winner: Central Kids Strathmore Kindergarten, Whakatane: 13cm wide, Central Kids Kindergartens

• Nelson Tasman Regional Winner: Greenwood Kindergarten, Motueka: 6cm wide, Nelson Tasman Kindergarten Association

• Taranaki Regional Winner: Stratford Kindergarten, Stratford: 3cm wide, Kindergarten Taranaki (Association)

• Tauranga Regional Winner: Te Puna Community Kindergarten, Te Puna: 18cm wide, Inspired Kindergartens and Home Based Education

• Waikato Regional Winner: Frankton Kindergarten, Frankton: 14cm wide, Waikato Kindergarten Association

Winner of workshops with Xanthe White

• Arataki Kindergarten, Inspired Kindergartens and Home Based Education (Tauranga)

• Edmonds Smith Street Kindergarten, Kidsfirst Kindergartens Christchurch

Overall best photo

• Fairfield Kindergarten, Waikato Kindergarten Association

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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