This is a post by JBFC Education Assistant Karolina Manko
With the holiday season upon us (and Thanksgiving having just passed) it’s safe to say that food has been on everyone’s minds lately- and the JBFC is no exception! But while all the adults exchange recipes and try to recreate grandma’s signature meal, children at the JFK Magnet School in Port Chester are donning their aprons for a different reason.
With a greenhouse and a full garden located in their center courtyard, The JFK School is a special place where a group of 24 fourth graders engage in a learning process unavailable almost anywhere else. Twice a week, students take some time to focus on food production, eating habits, and their own contributions to Mother Earth. Guided by two teachers from the JFK School, Jenn Curti and Kate Albero, the children learn to engage in a messy, tasty, and otherwise unorthodox way.
The Garden Club, which began in the spring of 2013 as a program of the JBFC’s Focus on Nature collaboration between JFK and Stone Barns Center has been a great hands-on project focused on creating a dynamic approach to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. So how do technology and media relate to gardening? With the help of full-time faculty member, Aaron Mace and our Curriculum Manager, Caitlin Nagle, the JBFC is getting our hands dirty too! This year’s Garden Club has been using iPads to record, document, and reflect on their project garden. With storytelling and creative expression guiding the way, children are using technology to explore and expand their visual literacy capabilities. These imaginative elementary school students have even set up time-lapse cameras to capture their garden’s growth on film. And, perhaps the most exciting and heartwarming media project is a series of cooking show videos filmed and produced by the kids themselves just in time for Thanksgiving! Using pumpkin squash from their own garden, the children made a delicious dish of pasta with squash and cheese sauce. (Mmm!) Check out a few of their videos below or visit the official Garden Club blog to find out more about the JFK School’s neat nature-based classroom.
Photo: Aaron Mace