Guilford Elementary Set Begin Garden to Cafeteria Program

In the spring of 2017 Guilford Elementary was honored to receive a $1,500 grant from the Loudoun Education Foundation (LEF), to install six raised grade level garden beds as part of Health and Wellness PBL project at Guilford. The purpose is to integrate nutrition lessons through planting and harvesting of grade level crops. Guilford has also been named one of the LCPS schools for the new School Garden to Cafeteria pilot program through the School Nutrition Office. The project has ties to all grade levels and is facilitated by Mark Pankau, Health and Physical Educator for Guilford.

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Project Based Learning is the second phase on all Loudoun County Public School campuses following the One to the World (OTTW) projects of last school year. The driving question that our students will be investigating will be, “How will growing our own food help us make decisions for our future?”.

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Guilford has already made great progress in our PBL and OTTW integration across grade levels and disciplines with specialists supporting grade levels as exhibited in our wellness and physical education in the areas of nutrition for third grade, exploring the different Virginia Regions through physical activity and supporting planting and growth with the KinderGARDEN projects. These are examples, like the grade level garden beds and highlights how school Specialists can support classroom core curriculum while making meaningful connections for children.
In July Mr. Pankau was contacted by the Loudoun Health Office with information on the Virginia Food Access Network Day of Action on September 29th. The VFAN goals are to raise awareness of organizations working to increase food access to improve nutrition and end hunger. A second goal is to encourage the promotion of food access by facilitating volunteer opportunities.
The Garden to Cafeteria project will provide students hands on skills, while supporting the needs of the Loudoun community. The grade level gardens ribbon cutting on September 29th, will be the kickoff event to the LCPS pilot school program and the VFAN Day of Action.

For more information please contact Mark Pankau at mpankau@lcps.org or Stefanie Dove, RDN at stefanie.dove@lcps.org

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Cedar Lane and Sugarland Receive Grants for School Gardens

Last month, Cedar Lane Elementary and Sugarland Elementary were the recipients of grants to help support their school garden efforts.  These grants were made possible by the Northern Virginia Dietetic Association (NVAND).  Each school received $100 from the organization.

These schools were selected from 12 applicants in the Northern Virginia region.  Each school submitted a detailed application where they had to describe the educational purpose and goals of their gardens while also discussing the impact and outcomes their garden had on the students and community.  Each application was ranked and voted on by board members of NVAND.

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NVAND President, Teresa Lucas and Sugarland Garden Coordinator, Darielle Timothy

Sugarland uses their school garden to help students learn the role they play in both the community and as health ambassadors.  The garden coordinators help students understand that growing nutritious foods can be done regardless of ones income level.  They focus on inquiry-based learning and real world problem solving so that students can understand how gardens directly relate to their lives; such as the garden to cafeteria initiative.  They develop consistent schedules for the garden so that each grade has responsibilities relating to the project.

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NVAND President Teresa Lucas and the Cedar Lane staff

 

Cedar Lane currently uses their garden to help their Autism classes learn curricular skills as well as career and working behaviors through garden-based activities.  They able to grow a variety of produce items which helps students become exposed to new foods.  Students learn the importance of following directions and reading recipes, conversational skills and money counting.  The Cafeteria Manager at Cedar Lane assists students with garden-based recipes and taste tests.  Cedar Lane also uses the harvest from their garden to host annual farmer’s markets at the school.  This allows the students to understand the background of having a business.

For more information on the farm to school program or school garden information in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org or visit www.lcpshealthycafe.org

Salad Science Comes to Algonkian and Selden’s Landing

Salad Science partnered with Second and Third grade students at Algonkian and Selden’s Landing Elementary schools this year. Teachers, Mary Carlson and Carrie Mock, served as the lead teachers at each of these schools to help organize the program. This program is divided into three sections, which is part of the Audubon Naturalist Society’s GreenKids program, enables students to grow their own lettuce while learning about edible parts of a plant, plant life cycles, composting, nutrition education, healthy eating, and general gardening skills.

Each phase contains a project-based learning mini-lesson that aligns with Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that incorporates a hands-on activity. Students did everything from writing journal entries where they recorded observations, made predictions on what would happen in the garden, and enhanced their math skills by charting data about the plants, weather, and precipitation. Classes were responsible for monitoring the garden beds, watering the plants, and tracking the progress of growth.

Students began the program by learning about the edible parts of a plant and planted lettuce seeds. They monitored the plans and thinned the lettuce to discuss and understand how nature recycles plant matter. The Salad Science program ended with students harvesting their lettuces where they participated in a salad party.  Students enjoyed having a taste party with the harvested lettuce along with a rainbow of healthy toppings and dressings.

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The Salad Science program not only allows students to become more empowered when it comes to understanding and growing their own food, it also instills the importance of healthy eating and trying new things. This program helps expand the Farm to School efforts by the School Nutrition Department in the district. As of December 2016, Loudoun County currently has 48% of their schools utilizing schools gardens and nutrition education activities in the classroom.

For more information about the Farm to School or School Nutrition Programs in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org