Cara Plott, previous service member with Shanjida, students at the Family School. I started my year of service as a FoodCorps service member at the Family School not really knowing what things to expect. Would I have the ability to find mentors to help me find out the needs of the educational school?
Would the institution administrators be supportive and worked up about expanding the number of classes learning in the garden? Would teachers feel comfortable using the garden space? Would my students show patience with me as I developed my teaching skills? As well as perhaps the most perplexing issue – how on earth could we employ a college of over 520 students inside our garden which had only four small rectangular garden bedrooms and a circle of eight stumps to take a seat on?
However, I found myself soonwelcomed into a residential area of teachers, administrators, students, families, and staff who were thrilling to collaborate beside me to improve the culture of wellness at their school. Through these partnerships, we’ve made great strides in getting more classes growing in the garden, promoting vegetables and fruits in the cafeteria, and developing our school’s culture of wellness. The beating center of the garden always has been and always will be, the trained educators and students at the Family School.
“Is this your garden?” was a common question I’d be asked by people moving by your garden as I had been watering in the evening. “No,” I’d reply, “I am simply a helper – this is actually the students’ garden. They planted the seeds and have done all the work. ” My main job was to support more teachers to use your garden even, and also to identify and address the barriers keeping teachers from using your garden. Year This, for the very first time, we’d all 13 of our Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade classes getting together with four lessons in the garden where they planted seeds, grew, and harvested their vegetables.
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During our classes we used our new “garden curriculum,” which we developed this season. The Garden Curriculum is an organized and easily accessible group of garden lessons and accompanying worksheets which we thought we would empower our teachers to use your garden more in their classes. The lessons were chosen and organized with assistance from the teachers.
The goal of the curriculum is for connecting teachers with garden lessons that fit their needs so that they can continue to do the lessons on their own. In the fall, the lessons for 3rd, 4th, and 5th levels shall debut. I was so impressed by how our students took ownership of what they grew.
They were committed to every part of the process, including tasting their veggies raw when we gathered them. Our successes didn’t visit the garden gate. We also acquired four taste lab tests in the cafeteria offering locally grown fruits & vegetables through the Department of Education’s Garden to Cafe program.