Our Holistic Care

Growing Matters was created to be a special care space for kids – rooted in three main core values: holistic nutrition, environmental awareness and community involvement – Growing Matters provides kids with opportunities to interact with, have fun with, learn about and care for their food, their environment, their community, themselves and each other – everyday.

Our Core Values

Nature Involvement & Environmental Awareness

Fostering active awareness, care for and interest in the environment is an important part of each of our days. No matter the weather, we are outdoors as much as possible – learning, playing, planting, creating seasonal picnics (in winter too!), exploring, creating and collecting pieces of nature to bring home and make art. We also place strong emphasis on composting and recycling and learn right from the start that food is never garbage. We compost our daily food scraps together and talk about what our food scraps / compost will become. Kids in turn understand the purpose of composting by also understanding the importance of soil. We often ask the children, “ What will our compost become?” Learning that all of their food scraps will soon become soil and that we will put this soil back into our garden to grow new seeds each spring excites the kids and inspires them to take an active role in composting everyday.

Children here also learn to distinguish between garbage, compost and recycling and have opportunities to choose where items in all categories belong (and why). Before each meal, we also welcome each other and give thanks together (through songs) to Mother Nature for our food. Fostering and supporting a love and appreciation of nature is key to our program. And that’s why kids here get to play outside everyday, no matter the season, no matter the weather. You’ll hear kids here talk about nature with ongoing appreciation and curiosity – as their involvement becomes more and more active and receptive to the colours, scents, shapes, textures and sights of ‘all the little things’ nature shares and shows them – in every changing season.

The Growing Matters garden currently includes apple trees, fig trees, raspberry and blueberry bushes, cherry trees, a peach tree, basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, chives, oregano, lots of lavender and three large garden beds for children to directly experience seasonal planting and harvesting of crops such as garlic, sunflowers, kale, chard, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, calendula, and whatever else we can find to plant
together - from organic seed.

Respecting Nature also means Reducing Daily Toxic Load for our Kids

In addition to reduced herbicides, pesticides and toxic food chemical exposure (by providing certified organic foods), we strive to respect nature and further help reduce the daily toxic load, which our kids (and ourselves) encounter (and digest) each day. Growing Matters provides the following green alternatives to conventional toxic household products:

  • Non-toxic hand soaps
  • Non-toxic dish soaps
  • Non-toxic laundry detergents
  • Non-toxic household cleaning supplies
  • Non-toxic cookware (stainless steel & cast iron only – no Teflon / nonstick pans)
  • Non-toxic food storage (when necessary, foods are stored in glass containers with pba free lids – no ziplock bag food storage or storage of food in ‘tupperware’)
  • Less toxic drinking water (carbon fiber water filtration system installed for all drinking water and cooking)
  • No microwave usage (no microwave present in facility)
  • No toxic sprays or room deodorizers
  • No perfumes (only essential oils are present)
  • Non-toxic art supplies
  • Non-toxic toys (apart from some outdoor plastic garden toys, toys inside facility are mainly made of wood and other natural materials)
  • Non-scented, biodegradable diapers and wipes free from harmful chemicals are highly encouraged (scented diapers will need to be replaced – as this is a perfume-free facility)

Holistic Nutrition

As agriculture and the global food system dramatically change and impact the health and wellbeing of our children, our environment, and ourselves, it is one of the main goals at Growing Matters to source out and provide certified organic foods for kids here everyday. We provide as many local and seasonal products as we can as well. Beyond providing clean food and true nourishment, we aim too, at the earliest ages possible, encourage kids to give thanks for and feel appreciation for real food and the earth from which it grows.

In our own garden, together with the children in our care, we also plant local organic seeds for which we care, grow, harvest and incorporate into our own meals and snacks. All daily meals and snacks are provided at Growing Matters so that parents need not go through any hassle of preparing any meals or snacks for their children in advance. Each week the children here also play a part in some of their own food preparation, learning about all ingredients along the way.

Children with food allergies are welcome at Growing Matters, and though we cannot guarantee the elimination of food allergens from our facility, we will adapt meals and snacks to suit all special dietary needs. If food allergies are a concern or you are certain your child has food allergies, adequate documentation to verify each allergen (and the severity of each) will help us in our aim. An IgG test is recommended to help in this case. Please note additionally that white wheat, refined sugars, margarine, conventional and genetically modified oils are never included in any of our meals or snacks. Also note that Growing Matters in not a nut free facility.

Community Care & Involvement

Children here discover new things to actively observe, feel, and further understand not only in our food and in nature but also inside our community and the concept of community itself – including introductions to communities within cultures near and far. From our frequent time in nature – and time explorations in our community, we gain a greater sense of awareness and appreciation for the place we are from, the place that supports our childhood and becomes the memory bank of where we grew up.

The songs we sing together and the books we read here also place an emphasis on gratefulness, nature, clean food, caring for the environment and building of community based on respect, compromise and compassion for nature and each other. Our books also feature children and families from all over the world, so that children learn early on about the existence of communities other than their own, communities that look very different from their own. Additionally, we often listen to, play instruments to and dance to music from all over the world – so that children are able to frequently engage in a rich diversity of sounds, instruments, rhythms and languages – from all over the world.


Because we recognize that not every child wants to do precisely the same thing at the very same time, our aim is to support the needs and interests of each child. While also taking into account each child’s age, developmental needs, personality and moods throughout the day, kids here are provided with optional activities from which to freely choose and engage in - as individually or as much a part of the group as needed or desired at the time. This child-centred focus means that our daily schedule is our guide – rather then a stringent structure written in stone – and, as such, is always open for change and adaptation for the benefit of each child and the greater good of the group as a whole.


With such a strong environmental focus and commitment to letting kids experience nature first hand, kids here get dirty. All full-time children will be required to have 3 complete changes of clothing and all part-time children will need to have 2 complete changes of clothing – to be kept here at the facility - at all times. As parents here can attest to, it has sometimes been the case that all or most changes of their child’s clothing have been needed in a single day.


Encouraging children to openly express, create and develop their own thoughts and ideas is important in each of our days. We provide children with opportunities and materials to freely create their own ideas and art here everyday. Our own nature adventures, food, plants and animals we see and the nature of what we talk about throughout our days inspire many of the kids’ art projects, journals and paintings.

All children here are provided with their own art journals and non-toxic art supplies with which to create. We also maintain files here for all the artwork outside of individual journal art, so that, at the end of the season or at the end of your child’s care here, they will be able to bring home and share all of their own artful creations.

Our 3 dimensional nature art projects – including art made with materials such as sticks, rocks, pine cones, shells, leaves, branches, nuts - will be cared for and displayed here until children wish to take them home.

Inspiring artfulness, creativity, active interest in the ‘little things’ in our lives - is the springboard from which each of our core value emerges. Without this foundation, no core value can be of much value. With this foundation consistently in place, all core values can find meaningful, lasting roots – enabling children at a very young age – to become increasingly conscious observers and caretakers of their environment, their food, themselves and each other – Not because they have to, but because they genuinely want to, because they are genuinely interested.

What’s New?

In the new season ahead, we hope to offer more field trips as well as fun, useful DIY projects, art workshops, environmental and gardening workshops, holistic cooking workshops and other meaningful, memorable events for kids (maybe even for parents too).

If you are a local artist, environmentalist, gardener, farmer, wildlife expert, holistic nutritionist, holistic chef, non toxic toy maker, maker of interesting things and interested in providing great workshops for kids (or parents), please get in touch with Growing Matters via our facebook page!