Expanding the garden’s role as a teaching tool is not a simple task as teachers struggle to meet this year’s new Common Core requirements. Some even say this year is like being a first year teacher all over again. However, as I say this, the garden program at Holt is slowly taking the school by storm. Right off the bat we expanded garden club hours in order to reach and include more students in garden activities. We added a cooking component as a way to engage more kids and encourage them to take what they learn at school and try it at home.
we balance wanting to include any kid remotely interested in the excitement of
cooking and gardening with wanting to teach a dedicated group of students to
plan, build, and maintain a garden of their own? We’re still figuring it out.
But in the meantime, students are showing me that the work we are already doing
is worth every second.
|Students and volunteers bring their enthusiasm to the task of weeding.|
|This "mini garden" greets everyone at the entrance to the school.|
The other day at lunch, one of my 6th grade students points at the bell pepper in my heaping salad and asks, “what’s that red thingy?” I tell her that it’s a sweet bell pepper and ask her if she’s ever tried one. She shakes her head, and I proceed to take a piece of my bell pepper, dip it in my homemade balsamic vinaigrette and pass it over to her. She makes a scared face and asks me if it’s good. I say, “It’s delicious! Try it!” So she tries it, and as I expected, likes it. Now that was rewarding, but things get even better when we’re sitting together at lunch the following day and she says, “I told my grandma about the peppers we ate yesterday. She said she loves peppers too. Can you give us the recipe for your sauce?” I say, “Of course!” and let her know that I’ll show the whole club how to make the dressing once our lettuce gets big enough to make salads. She smiles, and my eyes light up at the thought of all the future experiences I can bring to these kids with the help of my team at Holt and the local community of volunteers.
by Sophia Gill
by Sophia Gill