School Nutrition Helps Teachers Connect Nutrition with Project-Based Learning
for a day of nutrition education and farm to school training
Ashburn, VA: Last month, School Nutrition Services collaborated with Virginia Cooperative Extension of Loudoun County, Giant Food and Virginia Family Nutrition Program to provide a full day of training to nineteen Loudoun County Middle and High School teachers. The training included topics on general nutrition, food science, plant science and farm to school. This training demonstrated how these subject areas could easily be applied to project-based learning initiatives while meeting SOL standards. Those who attended were able to engage in hands-on learning activities including cooking and food preparation demonstrations, soil lab experiments and recommendations on how teachers can connect students with community partners to achieve measurable learning outcomes. A follow-up survey from the training reported that 82% of attendees felt well equipped to incorporate school garden and nutrition education activities into their lesson plans while 84% plan to implement these lesson ideas during the 2017-2018 school year.
Jennifer Gardner, AP Biology teacher at Loudoun Valley High School, stated, “I really enjoyed the training and it gave me some great ideas to take back to my students.” Renae Sterling, Marketing teacher and DECA advisor at Briar Woods High School, has already started collaborating with School Nutrition to plan for her Advanced Marketing classes. Natalie Kannan, RD and In-Store Nutritionist for Giant Food stated, “This training served as a wonderful opportunity to highlight the importance of nutritious fruits and veggies, in a way that our youth can easily connect with and implement at home. From math to science, in the classroom, these activities allow for introductions to new fruits and vegetables, as well as basic cooking skills, all while reinforcing the subject matter being taught.” Carly Griffith, Associate Extension Agent was pleased to see the training incorporating 4-H curricula. “Being able to incorporate 4-H nutrition programs into our school system will help insure that our message of “pledging my health to better living” reaches youth of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles.” Snap-Ed Agent, Van Do, summarized the day with “the experience was truly enjoyable for both facilitators and participants and was a great example of a good community partnership.”
As part of the USDA Farm to School Planning Grant received by School Nutrition, all teachers who attended the training will receive the following at the beginning of the upcoming school year:
• Complete sets of the 4-H curricula used for the training
• School Nutrition will also randomly select eight participating schools to receive their choice of a composting tumbler or raised garden bed to enhance farm to school experiences for students.
• Through a partnership with the Loudoun County Health Department, all attendees will receive a hydroponic garden tower for their classrooms or designated area in their school.
For more information about School Nutrition Services or our community partners, visit www.lcpshealthycafe.org or contact Stefanie Dove at (571) 252-6502.