We extend our country classroom into the city for our preschoolers and kindergarteners through our lush organic garden on our South Street property. The garden puts the natural world at our youngest learners' fingertips by providing a living laboratory.
Through our Seed to Table program, each student participates in planting, tending, and harvesting fruits and vegetables. Once the plants are harvested, the children prepare, serve, and eat the food. To experience food up close and personal, rather than just at the grocery store or a meal already prepared for them, can be an eye-opening opportunity to explore the complexities at both the growing and the eating ends of our food chain.
There are many ways we use the Seed to Table program as part of our curriculum. Sometimes students will go on a “snacking trip” through the garden, where they pluck raspberries or cherry tomatoes and pop them right into their mouths, experiencing the freshest food possible. At other times they harvest basil, tomatoes, and peppers and try their hand at preparing a Mexican dish while speaking in Spanish. They might hone their math skills by measuring the growth of an eggplant, or they might count how many seeds are in the pumpkin they grew and then roast the seeds for a snack.
And their robust harvest – thanks to an irrigation system designed by our sixth graders – has been shared with others – including our neighbors and the People’s Emergency Center in West Philadelphia.