A child, picking an apple from a tree, handed it to me and asked, “Now what do we do with it?” “What do you mean?” I asked. “Well, what do you do with it before I can eat it? Is there a machine or something we have to put it through?” This is a true story. The child was my three-year-old son, an urban child with, obviously, very little knowledge about the source of the fruits and vegetables that found its way to his plate each day. Though past generation three-year-olds probably followed a family member out to the vegetable garden to pick carrots for the dinner meal, many of today’s children do not have similar opportunities.
Part of the nutrition program at Partners In Learning has student’s planning and planting gardens. The children take pride in their efforts, and enjoy eating the vegetables their garden produces. They also develop confidence because of the new skills they’re developing. Learning about plants through classroom curriculum is great, but offering the children this hands-on experience is far more enriching.