Shawanoe Elementary students enjoyed a new hands-on learning project by planting, nurturing, and harvesting a Learning Garden at their school.
The school was awarded The Project Learning Garden from the Captain Planet Foundation, a non-profit organization helping to ensure that the next generation of students are environmentally literate citizens. Crystal Brower, kindergarten teacher, and Cassandra Parkinson, fifth-grade teacher, requested the grant in order to make sure Shawanoe students would have everything they needed to conduct garden-based and outdoor learning, including garden beds and dirt. They also now have a mobile kitchen cart to use after harvesting.
Applying teamwork and learning skills, fifth graders and kindergartners worked together to build garden beds, plant the garden, and nurture it through the spring. On July 13, students and teachers gathered at the garden site to celebrate a harvest and use the mobile kitchen cart.
“Throughout the garden experience, students have been introduced to science and literacy concepts that are building sequencing, and they are understanding what plants need in order to grow,” Dr. Abby Morgan, Shawanoe principal commented.
Incoming kindergarten students enrolled in the Jump Start to Learning program at Shawanoe continued to water the garden. They watched the plants grow and learned the origin of a variety of fruits and vegetables. For some, this was the first time they had ever seen vegetables that were not already grown.
“There have been lots of smiles as they go through and pick what is ready,” Morgan continued.
Joining the students in picking cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, basil, and banana peppers, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Hubbard said she was thrilled about the learning opportunities the garden will provide.
“We’re very excited that our students in the middle of the city have this opportunity to see and be a part of their own garden,” she shared.
After harvesting, students then had the opportunity to build and enjoy a healthy summer salad. Most students gave their salad two-thumbs up with a shout out of ‘delicious’.
The Learning Garden Program provides students the opportunity to taste healthy foods and expand their palates, while engaging them in the science of growing their own food. By introducing creative learning and healthy options, students can share what they have learned and tasted with their families.
Dole Packaged Foods and Price Chopper joined forces with the Captain Planet foundation to support this program as part of a commitment to educate children on the benefits of consuming more fruits and vegetables.