Trees & Saplings FAQ - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Trees & Saplings FAQ

Trees & Saplings FAQ

Trees & Saplings is a program for 2- and 3-year-olds with a caregiver. In this active, hands-on program, our youngest gardeners work with their adult partner to go on scavenger hunts, harvest in the Garden, sing songs, taste new foods, and create nature crafts.

What are the goals of the Trees and Saplings program?

Each Trees and Saplings class is designed for both the adult and the young child enrolled in the program to begin to practice basic horticultural skills. Depending on the season, the child/adult pair will: plant seeds and transplants, dig, mulch, weed, water and harvest.

We also include in each session developmentally appropriate extension activities that relate to what you will see and do in the Garden such as simple cooking projects, lots of tasting experiences (either straight from the garden or prepared dishes), crafts, stories and songs.

What should we wear and bring?

Both child and adult should dress for gardening! We will spend part of every class (except in the case of extremely bad weather) in the Children's Garden field taking care of our garden plots. Both participants—child and caregiver—should wear boots or closed-toe shoes (no sandals). Wear clothes that can get messy during gardening, cooking, or craft making.

Students should bring along a water bottle to stay hydrated while working outdoors. We harvest whatever is ripe or ready each session (this means much less in winter and early spring, bounties in summer and fall). Pack a harvest bag to carry home the day's vegetable harvest. A hat and sunblock should be worn while out in the sun.

Why does each child require one adult to participate in the class?
Trees and Saplings is unique in that both the child and adult are signing up for an active, hands-on gardening class. Our gardeners use real tools and share a half-acre field with many other Children's Garden participants. For the safety of our youngest gardeners and tender crops, we require that Trees and Saplings participants enroll as a pair: one child and one adult.
Can we bring an older or younger sibling?
No. Trees and Saplings is designed to be one-on-one time with the enrolled child. Please find alternative care for siblings.
Can we bring an additional adult (such as a visiting relative or friend) to class?
No. We only have space for one child and one adult to attend each class. If you would like an adult other than yourself to partner with your child for one day, please contact the Children's Garden coordinator. That alternate adult will need to fill out a waiver before joining the class.
What happens if there's bad weather?
If the weather conditions are unsafe, we will modify our class plan and stay inside. Please note: We still go outside in light rain or snow and on hot or cold days, so please dress accordingly.
What is a Trees and Saplings class like?
Here's a schedule of a typical class:

10:00-10:10 a.m.: Investigation station
10:10-10:15 a.m.: Welcome song
10:15-10:25 a.m.: Theme of the day
10:25-10:45 a.m.: Garden work
10:45-11:00 a.m.: Craft project
11:00-11:15 a.m.: Make a garden snack
11:15-11:25 a.m.: Story and snack time
11:25-11:30 a.m.: Good-bye song
Can we make up a missed class?
No. To maintain our low student/teacher ratio, students may not drop in on other Trees and Saplings sessions to make up a missed class.
Is my child ready for Trees and Saplings?
All children adapt to social settings at their own pace. During their first experience in a structured class environment, young children may experience some anxiety. Here are some strategies to help your young learner feel comfortable in class:
  • Arrive on time or a few minutes early to class—feeling rushed or joining an activity midway though it can make your child feel uncomfortable and confused. Try to take care of snack and bathroom needs before class begins.
  • Become familiar with the routines of class—coming each week and reinforcing ideas and concepts at home will help your child feel confident about what to expect and how to participate in class.
  • Consider how Trees and Saplings fits with your child's nap schedule. A tired child can find it hard to focus and participate.
  • Model engaged behavior—your excitement and participation will encourage your child to join in during class.
What if my child becomes upset or refuses to participate?
Although we strive to keep the class together at all times, a few minutes away from the class often allows an upset child to regroup and reengage. The class moves from one activity to the next quickly, so if your child needs a break during a specific activity, the transition to the next one is a great time to rejoin the class.

Learn more about the Children’s Garden

Image, top of page: Joseph O. Holmes