Reflections on "Using Gardens to Teach"

PFP's 2016 Summer Institute for Educators focused on helping educators of youth in the primary grades integrate gardens into their teaching.

 "Using Gardens to Teach" participants being plant parts

"Using Gardens to Teach" participants being plant parts

On day one, educators took part in garden math stations on using a coordinate grid, measuring using your handspan, finding the perimeter of garden beds, and graphing flowers by their attributes. They toured PFP's Meditation Garden and Discovery Gardens, and learned how to garden with children.   

The second day of the training started with a session on Literacy in the Garden led by local storyteller and reading specialist, Muriel Horowitz. Next the group took a field trip to two school gardens in Poughkeepsie, one at Clinton Elementary School and the other at Warring Elementary School. The day ended with a session on the hows and whys of saving garden seeds.

On the final day of the Summer Institute, participants learned how to teach nutrition concepts through cooking workshops, toured Poughkeepsie Farm Project, learned to process tomato and pepper seeds, explored children's literature and curricular resources, and developed social studies lessons based on fictional and non-fiction children's books.

 Jes (left), Juliana (middle), and Sam prepare to tell a story to the group.

Jes (left), Juliana (middle), and Sam prepare to tell a story to the group.

The Summer Institute for educators is super exciting! We exchanged tons of resources and strategies to work with gardens as great outdoor classrooms. 

-Juliana Quaresma, Onondaga Earth Corps

The Summer Institute was a very rewarding, educational, and inspiring experience. ... I left really pumped to initiate the garden-based education skills and ideas that we discussed.

-Sam Adels, garden educator, Hudson Valley Seed

 Suzi (left) and Mary make squash ribbons to add to the kale salad.

Suzi (left) and Mary make squash ribbons to add to the kale salad.

"The knowledge of the PFP staff, their love of their work, and their willingness to share is amazing." 

-Suzi Sullivan, 3rd grade teacher, Clinton Elementary School

"I had a great time at “Using Gardens to Teach.” The hands-on activities at the farm were very engaging. I have lots of ideas to bring back to school."

-Mary Ficht, 4th grade teacher, Warring Elementary School