Children at Gowrie Victoria Carlton Learning Precinct have been given a taste of the bustling community experience that comes with local markets.

Inspired by the picture book Off to the Market, by Alice Oehr, educators and children decided to create their own market experience.

Educational Leader Kristie Dowell said the Honey Pot Market was an extension of the Honey Pot Café (named after a banksia), located outside the kitchen window at CLP. “Our chef Nicky often displays books about food in the kitchen and the children were fascinated with Off to the Market,” Kristie said. “We decided to extend on that interest and make a community market at CLP.”

Kristie said each room created their own wares to sell and buy at the market with token money. “The toddlers made dinosaur eggs, which were tiny dinosaurs wrapped in clay,” she said. “This was great for their fine motor skills.”

The kinder children made necklaces out of recycled cardboard and painted leaves, while other classes made papier mâché vases with dried flowers, and bookmarks out of gum leaves. “There were so many beautiful things set up near the kitchen, and Nicky provided a large basket of carrots as well,” Kristie said.

The children were given time to wander through the market in small groups, choosing the items they wished to purchase with their tokens. “They were so excited that when their families came to pick them up, they took them through the market as well, to show them what they’d been doing,” Kristie said. “So, we’ve decided to hold the Honey Pot Market again and invite families to join in.”

Kristie said connection with family and community was an integral part of the early learning service’s programs as it helped build a strong sense of belonging for children. “The market was a great way to bring us together as a whole service and to connect children’s families with our service,” she said. “It also provided the experience of choosing and buying things, numeracy and exchange, as well as making things for other people.”