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Possibly getting the school involved..

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Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/23/2011, 10:56 pm

My kids currently go to two different schools. My two typicals go to our local church/school. My autistic son goes to the public school for it's outstanding resources.

The parish school has an outdoor adventure area devoted to nature, wildlife, and reusing/recycling all things natural. Our public school just asked me today if I knew of anything they could do on a "smaller scale" for growing plants/gardening. (pardon me for my resounding laughter) My answer was, "Sure, Square Foot Gardening...see you build a garden and section it off in one foot by one foot squares allowing you to cram 100% of the work into 20% of the time." And, I shut up. Then, the questions really started!

The parish won't pay, and the area isn't close to the school....requiring kids trucking buckets of water across a ball field. Not user-friendly. And, the church's resident pastors and administrators really have no interest in figuring out a solution, unless it's free of charge. However, the public school is full of resources and talked to me about helping them write their grant application to fund an SFG in the future......sort of.

Since it's in it's infancy, what are the basics I should "pitch" to make this a complete no-brainer? I mean the math, science, health, and exercise alone make this a must do for any school imo. But, how can I break it down for them? I am not a teacher and don't know how to get on their level, let alone the administrators, to free up funding for them.

I would love to help them and teach them of the benefits, but I would also love to get paid a little for my time, if possible. (My problem is that although I believe knowledge comes at a price, I would gladly do this for free....I just don't have the time during the growing season.)

I would love to brainstorm with you guys and get some rough ideas down. I really think this can go across the district (5 elementaries, 2 middles, and a high school) in a flash. And, I think...if done right...it can cross districts and get picked up by others. And, I think a lot of us could do this in our communities.

Do we need certification first?? It's something I plan on, but would need to speed up for sure if this gets more serious. And, I plan on making it more serious before long.

Thanks for anything you can offer.

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  ashort on 3/23/2011, 11:54 pm

math: multiplication, finding area, measuring, graphing growth, yields, basic arithmetic, water usage, finding volume, ratio of MM,

Science: Plant biology, earth science, sustainability, germination, photosynthesis, polination, water cycle, nitrogen cycle, carbon cycle,

Health: food groups, types of vegetables (starchy, etc), proper food cleaning, proper food handling,

exercise: I got nothing here - its pretty easy...

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  boffer on 3/24/2011, 12:06 am

@ashort wrote:exercise: I got nothing here - its pretty easy...
Can't pass by that set up Wink


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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  walshevak on 3/24/2011, 12:27 am

@boffer wrote:
@ashort wrote:exercise: I got nothing here - its pretty easy...
Can't pass by that set up Wink



lol!
Except for the initial box building and MM mixing. Wore me out.

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Possibly getting the School Involved

Post  tabletopper on 3/24/2011, 1:52 am

Buy a Session Plan for Kids from the SFG store........they are really geared for 4th graders.....but I am sure other ages will benefit on either side of the grade.....I bought 3 recently.....and am trying to find out about the Calif Schools and if they are still promoting SFG......
I am teaching preschoolers at the present time.....but I do know Tiffany Elementary School has a abanded plot behind a extra fence beside the playing field with piped water and 7 4x16 boxes and a few almost dead fruit trees and a gazabo.....theres a sign saying in 2001 this garden won some kind of award .....In my zone....plants are year around....so its heartbreaking to see it just sitting......but my friend who got me intested in this project is trying to get the Boy Scouts involved somehow...and some volunteers......lots of hard work ahead...

Good Luck......with working with the powers that be.....

Ruth

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  nancy on 3/24/2011, 10:34 am

furthering ashort's list:

life: patience / waiting and being tough enough to thin seedlings (I can't bear it!)

biology: bugs! good and bad (my first tomato hornworm really freaked me out)

health: no candy ever tasted as good as a freshly picked, sun-warmed raspberry!

~

I love this whole idea and wish you the best of luck. With Jamie Oliver's tv show coming on again soon, getting schools involved in better food will be a tad bit easier, too. I'd love to do this at my kid's school, but they are tearing it down next week and building new. The kids will be in modulars until fall 2012 and the modulars are where I would want the beds!

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/24/2011, 10:51 am

I agree about getting a copy of the book for kids at the SFG site, that's a good start. Maybe you could ask the school to send home a note asking if the parents are interested, and put something in the bulletin at church. The wonderful thing about private schools is that the parents have more influence than public schools, but can also be a bit harder to convince of new things. The key here is going to be with the parents, you need to get them on board. This would also give older members of the church who grew up growing their own food, and possibly had a Victory Garden,an opportunity to share History lessons in the garden, and maybe even an afternoon or two of free help, or at least a donation towards water hoses to run to the area. However if you ask me hauling water would be good for them, you could explain how in some countries the kids have to walk ___ miles to get the families water for the day, and how lucky we are. OOPs, hopping on my soap box, I'll hop down real quick like.

We homeschool so any time we are in the garden we are doing math, science, health, home ec, and P.E., maybe not extensive P.E. but compared to the exersice most kids get today, it's a work out, there are no remote controls in my garden. Not to mention, any time I talk to myself, it's a parent teacher conference, so I do it qute frequently.

Jamie Oliver is my hero, cannot get enough of his TV show.

Another thought, contact your local county extension office, see if they have a 4-H in your county and look into any resources they may have. The coutny extension office should have some resources on growing in your area and canning. Ask around to see if there are any Master Gardeners looking for Community Service work. Also if your town has a Community College, see if they offer gardening classes, and ask for the Instructors contact info and see if they have any ideas. Most of these will be more traditional gardeners, but they can offer great advice, and could be a valuable resource on bugs and native plants.

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  ashort on 3/24/2011, 11:43 am

@FarmerValerie wrote:
This would also give older members of the church who grew up growing their own food, and possibly had a Victory Garden,an opportunity to share History lessons in the garden, and maybe even an afternoon or two of free help, or at least a donation towards water hoses to run to the area. However if you ask me hauling water would be good for them, you could explain how in some countries the kids have to walk ___ miles to get the families water for the day, and how lucky we are. OOPs, hopping on my soap box, I'll hop down real quick like.


Great catch on the victory garden history tie-in. And props to you for being a homeschooler...


Last edited by ashort on 3/24/2011, 11:44 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : reduce quote size)

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/24/2011, 11:56 am

As a low-income home school family we have had to get creative for our resources. When I taught them how to count, we used gummy bears, when it came time to teach money, I tied in history-which President was on each coin, when was the coin first made, when did that President get put on that coin, and so on. If my kids ask me what is________ I point to the Encyclopedia set I spent hundreds of $ on, my 14yo son keeps one Encycoledia in the bathroom for reading material. If they want a day off from school because everyone else has the day of-say Presidents Day, we do a paper on that "day", they no longer ask.

I suggested getting the older generations involved because we have lost something in our country, sharing. We have so much tecnology, and transportation alone has come so far in the last 150 years, families no longer move out west and only send a letter once a year, but we don't share as much as we used to. We are about to lose one of our most valuable resources given to us, it's called The Greatest Generation, those who were alive during the Great Depression and WWII. If we don't learn everything we can from them, it will be one of the greatest losses we have ever suffered. When I taught VBS years ago, that generation were my biggest help, the served where the could, and those who could not donated money. They told me how when they were raising their family, vacation was planned around VBS. As for the younger generation I was told by someone that they could not help, they had to paint their living room that week.

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  camprn on 3/24/2011, 12:48 pm

You may want to contact your local Farms to School group. More than likely they have previously developed curriculum that is interdisciplinary and grade appropriate.
http://www.farmtoschool.org/MO/programs.htm

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/24/2011, 12:59 pm

WOW thanks for all the replies!! I really appreciate them. I will go through these in more detail when I slow down this weekend.

Our local school district is a very strong one in Missouri. My wife and I both graduated from here and now it's a real "trip" to watch our kids enter the system and see how education has changed/evolved. It's scary crazy!

My point is: We toured the elementary school today, after having an IEP meeting (Individualized Education Plan) for our son yesterday....two completely separate events. I briefly mentioned the garden idea, and the counselor giving the tour said (almost arrogantly), "I could write a grant off the top of my head and have $3k here before the end of the year. With the access to federal funding we have, resources are not an issue at all."

That statement about knocked me down. Our educational system is becoming one of "haves" and "have nots" very quickly. That can be a debate for another day, but when you are on the good side of it, it's a very nice thing to know.

And, like GI Joe used to say.......and, knowing is half the battle! I'll keep everyone posted as I venture further. And, please keep the comments/ideas coming. I can use all the help I can get here.

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  camprn on 3/24/2011, 1:03 pm

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote: I briefly mentioned the garden idea, and the counselor giving the tour said (almost arrogantly), "I could write a grant off the top of my head and have $3k here before the end of the year. With the access to federal funding we have, resources are not an issue at all."
Jeeze, wish our district had whatever she has... in any case CH-CHING! call her up and pursue this avenue!!! yes yes yes!!!


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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  boffer on 3/24/2011, 1:12 pm




Possible political discussion alert! Please avoid!

This alert presented by someone who would really like to get into the subject! Razz

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/24/2011, 1:22 pm

OH how I understand Boffer on this one, but I'm not gonna jump in on politics, I save that for my blog.

Food for thought about money from the school, they may mandate what can and cannot be taught. You may be better off sitting down and explaining what, how, and why SFG works and that that's what you will be teaching before you get started, and give them a copy of Mel's book. It is the USDA that determines what is and is not acceptable in the cafeteria to serve as meals. As Ruth Buzzie used to say "That's all I have to say about that (sticks out tongue)", yes, I'm that old.

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  camprn on 3/24/2011, 5:03 pm

@boffer wrote:


Possible political discussion alert! Please avoid!

This alert presented by someone who would really like to get into the subject! Razz
Thank You!!! Wink

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  milaneyjane on 3/24/2011, 6:19 pm

Staying out of the politics, first hand experience with gardens at schools. 3 kids, two different schools, one traditional one Montessori, both with gardens and both with different takes and ways to get involved. I think there are a number of different ways to do it. I think the key is finding one teacher or the PTO that is a gardener.

Traditional school: They have a volunteer Master Gardener that holds sessions in the summer with kids that want to get involved, so it is not during class time. They plant the front gardens at the front of the school with edible and nonedible plants learinging as they go. I believe it is on a sprinkler system but don't know for sure. They used to do vege gardens in one of the many courtyards, but there was not staff there during the summers to continue to take care of it with watering(we are in MN and growing season is NOT during school, LOL!)

Montessori: I should start by saying it is a Charter school and the charter holder is the Audobon Center so it does have an emphasis on natures/outdoors/using resources etc...This is how it worked last year and I am hoping to make it more efficient this year as a parent volunteer. Currently, the classrooms all have compost containers in their classrooms and they collect all compost at lunch time and then dump it into the compost bin outback of the school everyday (The current compost bin is not ideal and a whole diff. post) One of the classrooms also has worms for composting as well. There is a large square foot garden that the kids planted last spring with a variety of items. The garden and compost are up against the fenced area where the kids play for recess so they can see it all the time. During the summer the school has a summer program during most of the summer and a staff person along with summer students watered it. In the fall when school was back in session, during recess those that were interested harvested the garden (potato, pumpkin, carrots, onion etc...). The items were used by the students with the help of a parent volunteer the next day during school to make vegetable soup for the classrooms. There are a lot of cooking activities at the school. Parents at the charter school are required to volunteer so many hours a year so there is quite a bit of parent involvement. The school also has a staff environmental (think outdoors) committee. The current beds are a very nice raised wood bed with a bench that I believe was built by a parent. Last year they also purchased the recylced beds from Sam's Club. I believe that was purchased with money from PTO funds.

I have a lot of great ideas that I would love to do with the Montessori school to expand the gardens and even though I am on staff this year, it would be in a volunteer role.

We have two certified sqaure foot gardener instructors in a neighboring town who are involved with the elementary school across from them. Here is their link. http://www.gardeningww.com/GWW/Welcome.html

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/24/2011, 9:18 pm

Great idea in ordering the book. I think I'll start there.

Val, agreed 100% that working harder is something our kids need. And, agreed again about the Greatest Generation. I reference my grandparents a lot on this forum, and they were members of the generation. I learned so much from them....more than anyone else I know my age. But, it still only scratched the surface, and now I can only draw from what I remember...or ask another member when I find them.

Camp, I looked at that site and bookmarked it for the future. Thanks so much for sharing it.

As for politics, I think we all have our own. I only hope we respect them. When it comes to a discussion such as this, they are bound to creep in somewhere. But, I hope we can all realize we are after the same goal here. And, hopefully if someone accidentally says something that chaps another, we won't turn this into a political debate. This is potentially something for the kids...the Next Generation if you will.

Milaneyjane, thank you for sharing your part, too. I really understand that places will get what they can for free/volunteer. And, I would do that if I could. But, my time is so valuable during the growing season as a lawn/landscaper, I would have to charge for my time or I would be killing myself. I automatically have huge ideas in this area and think it's something I can really add to my arsenal. I hope I can get some schools on board to turn this into a long-term venture. If so, I think the rest may fall into place. But, we'll see. I often bite off more than I can chew.

I plan to digest what everyone has to say and get this down to a few bullet points from which I will expand. I think I may have a couple of people in the schools targeted as helpers already....someone that can get me in the door. After that, a knockout presentation may just do what I want....get me an experimental garden. Then, it's up to the success of the children, their teacher's desires/excitement, and me to take it the rest of the way.

Thanks again for contributing. I hope whatever I can pull off will inspire the rest of you to get involved and do this, too. I just know with this economy and job market, it could be a huge thing for all of us. And, please, don't stop contributing. I am counting on all of our brains to pull this off. I'll just likely jump off the cliff first. The rest of you can watch and see if my parachute opens....lol.

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/29/2011, 2:41 pm

I went to the Library yesterday (HAPPY, HAPPY, JOY, JOY) by myself (see parenthasis again) and saw a book called "How To Grow A School Garden, a complete guide for parents and teachers" by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle.

Just thought I would pass that along.

I also tried to get the copy they had of Mel's old book, and PTL it was checked out!!!

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/29/2011, 6:16 pm

Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

This will likely be a slow process for me because of all the things springtime brings into the juggling act. I will certainly let anyone know if something develops.

And, please, y'all do the same.

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Re: Possibly getting School Involved

Post  tabletopper on 4/1/2011, 7:16 pm

Latest pictures of Chula Vista school garden:






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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  genes on 4/1/2011, 7:19 pm

You go, sir! But where are your helpers?

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/1/2011, 9:38 pm

That's a great garden plot there. But, I am hoping to get the school into SFG all the way with Mel's Mix and the whole bit. Too much work without the fluffy stuff. Boy howdy, though, I commend all the legwork you are doing to turn that soil.

Are you by chance converting it so that doesn't have to be done next year?

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Re: Possibly getting the school involved..

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