The children in the Chuk Muk elementary school are actively involved in the Aldea Maya organic garden program. Earlier in the year we had the students help make bokashi soil and fill plant pots. The students then planted a variety of medicinal herb plants as well as papaya seeds. Several months later we had wonderful healthy papaya plants to distribute to the students. But first the students learned why papayas are an important part of the diet. They are excellent sources of Viltam A and C. The students then helped make a papaya smoothie. Every student took a papaya plant home to plant in their garden. In the next year the students will start to have wonderful papayas available in their yard for free. This project helps with food availability and sustainability. In the last few months there has been political unrest in Guatemala and the roads were closed for several weeks. The markets had little to no food and the prices sky rocketed. Having food plants growing in a yard helps combat this problem.
Aldea Maya has a plethora of hands on organic garden projects in the Chuk Muk Elementary School.
The grade 4, 5 and 6 students have been learning about different plants and herbs that grow in the greenhouse and garden.Then each student has made a page for our plant directory by focusing on one plant and learning all about it. The finished directory has well over 100 unique pages. The students then worked together to create a book on insects and bugs, learning which are beneficial and which can cause problems in the garden.
Recently the grade 3 & 4 students have been learning about the importance of rich organic soil in the garden as not only a home for plants but as a home for beneficial bacteria and insects. They have also learned about starting their own plants to take home to replant and they are using recycled plastic bottles they have collected from the street as plant pots. The students then collected beans from our greenhouse and started their own mini greenhouse.
What does it mean being a “green school”. Is the reorientation of education towards sustainable development; It proposes that schools be helped to design work plans related to the environment that are well integrated into their curricula or school program. That is why all our projects will be integrated in the teacher’s annual program and be considered as part of their curricula. Once they finish each project, it will be part of their grades in a course called “natural sciences” and also another course called “development and entrepreneurship”.
In the first phase of the plan, we are teaching the students and teachers how to classify and separate the garbage into organic and inorganic. We also teach them the way we transform the organic garbage into a good soil and why good soil is so important to make healthy plants..We break the organic garbage into 2 parts. One part goes into the worms bins and the other part we use for the making bocashi ( hot compost) This should help the school reduce garbage going to the land fill.
The next step is to learn the life cycle of plants and the importance of each part of the plant. The students then tour the different area in the school garden and learn what plants they will be starting from seed and how to nuture them. There are over 200 students actively participating in this program.
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