Most of the adults at are involved in some variety of gardening in their free time but that passion has become a whole new curriculum they now share with students at the school too.
“They all want to do this, they all want to water the plants and plant the seeds they’re all really excited,” said Susan Gordon, director of the childcare center.
Gordon said the curriculum, which has children learning about gardens, the lifecycle of plants and food is something children of all ages can relate to.
“The children love to be outdoors but we want to make it an educational experience for them, not just play,” she said. “Reading the recipe is a lesson and for some of them, knowing colors of peppers and tomatoes is a lesson,” she said.
The school keeps chickens and watched eggs hatch this spring, They also installed a few raised bed and pallet gardens with many vegetables, berries, herbs and flowers. They had enough peppers and vegetables to make salsa recently.
“We are hoping to use environmental literacy in teaching reading and math through recipes we cook from the food we have grown,” said Gordon. “One of our goals is to have our children eat healthy by making healthy choices from the ground up.”
“She has been talking about digging in the dirt a lot,” said Megan Welsh, mom of one of the students at Ivy Cottage. “She loves it.”
Sadie Gordon, another student, said the salsa tasted better because it was home made. She said it wasn’t the first time she had made something in the kitchen but it was the first time she had made salsa and chopping was the hardest part.
A Sample Lesson: Following a Salsa Recipe
Following a Recipe begins with children washing their hands and joining the group at the table. The children are shown the recipe and asked what meaning they understand from it. The group discusses the list of ingredients. Vegetables are washed and then chopped. Each child has a cutting board and knife to chop vegetables. Chopped vegetables are put into a mixing bowl. Scraps are put into a bowl to feed the chickens, worms, or compost. When chopping is completed, extra ingredients are measured and added. Each child takes a turn mixing. Finished product is sampled by all.
This lesson addresses the following CT education goals for young children:
- Sustain attention to task
- Participate in teacher-led group activities
- Interacts cooperatively with peers
- Uses coordinated small-muscle movements
- Uses complex sentences and vocabulary to describe ideas and experiences
- Understands and participates in conversations
- Identifies printed words
- Engages in scientific inquiry
This lesson also addresses the following addition skills:
- Reading the recipe in words and pictures
- Measuring and counting ingredients
- Discussing where the ingredients come from