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Extension > Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners > 2017

Welcome!


On this blog, we share regular updates about the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners partnership between Extension's Children, Youth & Family Consortium and Bruce Vento Elementary School.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Garden Camp Finale

By Kirsten Saylor, School Garden Coordinator

The last session of Garden Camp, May 22, fell on a brilliant day! The sun was out and a gentle breeze ruffled the air. On this afternoon, third grade students at Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul harvested what they had grown in the school’s garden. They learned how to harvest the produce safely and wash it, and then they tasted the culmination of their work.

This was also a highly coordinated session! We had pushed back the harvest a week in the hope of giving more time for crops to grow.

close-up of a raised garden bed with lettuce, radishes, and peas growing
Buce Vento's well-marked raised beds.

Only half of the counselors were able to join us as a result. Working with SNAP-Ed Educator Shirley Vang and St. Paul Public Schools Nutrition Services' Jill Westlund, we were able to adapt the initial strategy so that every student would be involved in one of three stations: Harvesting, Wash, and Salad!

Half of the class would harvest and wash in the first half of the session, while the other half would have a quick lesson on salad making, nutrition, and preparing melon. At half time, students switched from Salad Station to Harvesting, and from Harvesting to Salad Station.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Why We're Not Planting Beans or Peas or Grass

By Kirsten Saylor, School Garden Coordinator

At Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul, students in Pre-K, kindergarten, and fifth grade are planting seeds indoors before planting outside in the school’s garden. They are learning both the principles and practice of planting in a garden — and we’re doing it without beans, peas, or grass.

three Pre-K students working with plastic cups and soil in white buckets
Pre-K students prepping indoor planting containers.

“Why not beans or peas or grass?” you may wonder. “They are tried and true plants of elementary classroom planting!”

Admittedly, we're taking a risk.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Learning about Soil and Water at Garden Camp

By Kirsten Saylor, School Garden Coordinator

Third grade garden camp kicked off last month at Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul. During camp students learn about planting seeds, how to read a seed packet, care for seedlings, watch growth, and harvest mid-May. If you haven’t already, you can read about Session One here: Third Grade Garden Camp Begins. Sessions Two and Three are here: Updates from Garden Camp.

Session 4: Soil

Once seeds are planted, students come to the garden for another three weeks to see how their plot changes, including the growth of the seedlings in terms of growth of shoot and roots, recording this information on a Daily Observation worksheet.

In addition, students take a deeper look at what plants need, and the first week was soil. Observing temperature, moisture, softness, and color of soils around the garden: in their raised bed, under the mulch, on an eroded area. They noted that under the mulch the soil was much cooler and wetter, while the surface of their plot was warm and quite dry despite recent rains. We compared the color and feel of the garden soil (dark, soft) with that of eroded soil (hard, rocky) and discussed what might be better for our plants to grow their roots in.

Students examine seedlings using a magnifying glass
Examining seedlings with a magnifying glass

Students started to see bugs! For some this was a real challenge to be around bugs. Those that were fine or enjoyed the insects, essentially taught their peers more about them and that they would not hurt them.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Updates from Garden Camp: Bed Prep and Planting

By Kirsten Saylor, School Garden Coordinator

Third grade garden camp kicked off last month at Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul. During camp, students learn about planting seeds, how to read a seed packet, care for seedlings, watch growth — and they harvest by May 15! If you haven’t already, you can read about Session One here: Third Grade Garden Camp Begins.

Session Two: Bed Prep

It couldn't have been a nicer day for the second session of Garden Camp. This was our first time working outdoors. It was Bed Prep day — students translated the data they collected from seed packets to figure out where and what they were going to plant. As expected, most students put their hands into the dirt and relished the experience of being outdoors and working in the soil.

We reviewed what plants need to thrive, using our bodies to help us remember — enforcing the links between the life under the soil (bugs and roots), the life above soil (plants), and ourselves. Finally, students wrote crop names on each paint stick and marked the rows for later seed planting.

children and adults clustered around raised beds
Garden bed prep in progress at Bruce Vento.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Third Grade Garden Camp Begins

By Kirsten Saylor, School Garden Coordinator

Third grade garden camp, a 9-week garden experience, is officially underway at Bruce Vento Elementary School. During camp, students learn about what keeps a garden healthy and develop an interest in healthy eating. Through this experience, we hope they will come away with the following skills and experiences:
  • Working together as a team.
  • Scientific observation, notation, and inquiry as a means of learning.
  • Learning what plants need to survive.
  • Gardening is both the means and the end — bridging mental and physical health.
  • Ability to read a seed packet and gain information to help them plant in the future.
  • Pride in doing the work themselves, harvesting, and sharing with others.
The kids will be the first ones out in the garden this spring, planting varieties of lettuce, radish, and peas that can tolerate cool spring weather and grow quickly. (We'll eat the pea tops.) Each class is planting their own variety so each garden bed will have three varieties of these three crops.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Introducing New Graduate Assistant

headshot of Kyla Flaten
Kyla Flaten
Hello!

My name is Kyla Flaten and I am thrilled to be joining the team at the Children, Youth & Family Consortium as a graduate research assistant. I will primarily work with partners in the "Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners" project at Bruce Vento Elementary School.

I am a graduate student studying public health and social work. Prior to joining CYFC, I worked as a research assistant in the Extension Center for Youth Development on a team to create curriculum about fostering social and emotional learning for youth programs. I am passionate about positive youth development and have been honored to work with numerous youth while leading canoe trips, teaching environmental education, and working in after school programming.

I am impressed by all the hard work that has already been done and look forward to working with the many individuals and organizations in this partnership.

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Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Learners is an ongoing partnership between the Extension Children, Youth, and Family Consortium and the Bruce Vento Elementary School. Together, along with many other partners, we are developing engaging learning environments that promote student learning and wellness.


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