In the Garden with Mr. Hartnell or "Farmer Geoff"
Our semester with Academy gardening has gotten off to a great start! Though the days have been warm outside the kids have worked hard getting their hands dirty in the soil in order to grow in their ability to produce food. This semester we are even taking a more hands on approach by spending all of our time outside (until the rain or winter force us inside) in order to allow the children's curiosity to fuel the lessons within the classroom. Students are excited to engage their full body in varying projects such as harvesting and processing edamame, onions, lettuce, peppers all the way to learning how to make their own compost from food scraps to caring for chickens and collecting their eggs. It's not everyday that children get to consistently grow into a comfortability and connection with the land and for that we are thankful!
One focus for this semester has been improving the dynamic between students. Every class of students is paired with another class while in the garden which allows for students to work on projects with students they typically may not see as much during the day. This opportunity creates room for wonderful dynamics to develop and for encouragement and learning to happen while working on a common goal. We have already witnessed students enjoying working with others and inevitably learning how to work through conflicts that emerge.
With each semester I spend with students at the Academy my appreciation grows for the opportunity these children have to learn practical skills that shape their minds and ability to help contribute to a healthy society. With an entertainment culture that is constantly bombarding our children with distractions of fast food and sugary treats it is wonderful these children are learning the value of food and not just what squash and spinach and strawberries are but how to successfully grow them. We are beyond excited for what the semester will bring!