The Work We Do: Maureen Radigan, The Child’s Garden Preschool

My name is Maureen Radigan and this is where I work, The Child’s Garden Preschool in Southold.

Every single day, we try to connect children to the land by cooking. So we have quite a large garden. We have 40 raised beds that were generously donated from the Peconic Land Trust.

The kids are preschool-age, but they’re growing their own food. Every day we make soup. This morning we harvested Swiss chard from the garden. What we hope to do with cooking every day is get them to do a tiny taste from the garden so that overtime, they can be introduced to vegetables over and over again and grow their palate and also be connected to the land and where food comes from. We encourage nibbling during cooking. You’ll even see some little bites out of the leaves. We make soup every day, and eat it for snack and sometimes send some home.

We are working toward a farm and forest curriculum so we’re going to be mostly outside. We already have about two hours of outdoor time. We really focus on getting the children into a routine.

We don’t want them to be too much in their head. We want them to be in their limbs and using their imagination. Kids today are doing so much watching, from birth to age 7, it should be about doing. We follow the Waldorf philosophy and we are art-, nature- and play-based.

Maureen Radigan. (Credit: Rachel Siford)

We harvest herbs to put in the dehydrator. We like to have the children make little gifts to take home for the holidays and give them to their family. We hope to foster a love of cooking here at the school, and cooking with their family.

We tell stories to the children, we sing to them and we focus on play.

Also fine motor skills are developed here — chopping, tearing, slicing, cutting with scissors.

My favorite part is working with young children because they’re very connected to process and they are so excited about doing everything and being creative and living in the moment. That’s my very favorite part.

‘The Work We Do’ is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. This weekly feature is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @thesuffolktimes. See the complete list of previous profiles here.