The kindergarteners of Alba-Golden ISD are learning science, math and social skills through gardening and food preparation with the Kindergarten Garden and Raddish Program.
The Kindergarten Garden started several years ago with simple flower beds in an empty area between buildings, but last year it was turned into something special.
Through donations and volunteer time, kindergarten teachers Rhonda Clark, Ashley Gilbreath, Deann Hanson and Beth Hlavaty have created a unique learning experience for their students.
Parents have donated seeds, plants and small garden tools, and several teachers have used Donor’s Choose grants to add new items such as magnifying glasses and water mazes. Businesses have also donated items.
One teacher used her PTA grant to purchase wood, and the high school wood-working class built kid-sized picnic tables for the area. Volunteers freely did dirt work to level the area for the tables and the gravel pit where students measure rocks and play with dump trucks.
A small donated sandbox has been repurposed into a worm farm composter, and containers of pea vines and kale are growing.
As an extension of the gardening experience, teachers are using Raddish, a no-ovens required “cooking” course, for students to learn healthy eating habits with food they’ve grown.
The nine-week course introduces basic kitchen and safety skills such as chopping and whisking while making connections in math, reading and science.
The students work together to create simple recipes from the Raddish Garden Party Kit, such as super kale salad, broccoli tree salad and no bake apple tarts.
When the classes have completed the nine weekly lessons, they will begin planning a lemonade stand. In addition to learning entrepreneurship, students will raise money for the next year’s start-up garden items.
On Feb. 22, the Kindergarten Garden will have a community work day and mulch donation drive. All parents and community members are welcome to participate.
By Amanda Duncan
You may find this article, as originally published, at Wood County Monitor online.