Planting season is among us again, and Martha's Table is kicking off spring with the children in our pre-school classrooms. The Food Program Manager, Demetri Recachinas and the Children's Program teachers have created a curriculum that suits the needs of our children from 3 to 7 years old. The Food Program has also implemented a new facet to the Garden, a new Farm and Garden intern, Laura.
Recently, we interviewed Laura to see how the summer is shaping up for the pre-school aged children in our all day daycare program and the children in our all day Summer Camp for elementary age children.
Q: Tell me more about what you do specifically with the garden.
A: “My job is to develop a rough rubric and lesson plans for the kids to learn from and work with the garden. We are forming lesson plans for three different groups: 2-3, 4-5, and 6-7 years of age. For example, the lesson plan for the 2-3 year olds is based on the 5 senses, with one lesson for each sense. First, we have an introduction class, explaining how plants grow, and measuring the plants to watch their growth over time. That is the first lesson. Then, we have a lesson about taste—we use sugar and salt water to demonstrate different flavors, and show the kids how plants taste different as well—some are sweet, some are bitter, some are juicy, etc. We also focus on feeling, like the texture of the leaves, and smell, such as the mint leaves and thyme. Our goal is to help the kids distinguish between different vegetables and also to see where their food comes from and the work that goes into producing them.”
Q: Do you teach the classes, or just form the lesson plans?
A: “Yes, I have taught some of the classes, along with Demetri and the teachers here. But I’ve only taught the 2-3 year olds. They actually get easily distracted but they love to water the plants, pick the kale, and play in the dirt. They really enjoy getting their hands dirty and working with the plants directly. I’m interested to see how the older kids respond to the lessons and work with the garden as well.”
Q: Have you cooked anything from the vegetable garden yet?
A: “Yes, they have cooked the kale that the kids picked and served it to them for dinner. Granted, it is a small amount of kale, compared to the huge bundles the kitchen usually receives, but it is really cool for the kids to see that they are eating the food that they hand-picked themselves from the garden right outside.”