Many children today do not have the opportunity to be involved with growing food for their family. With the Growing with Grains – Food from our Farms program, kindergarten students at Willards Elementary School were able to gain hands-on learning about different types of grains, vegetables, soil types, and varieties of seeds as well as how food makes it way to the grocery store, and how important farmers are.
Understanding the relationship of how and where food and fiber is produced as part of the community food supply is often a lesson not included in many elementary schools. During this three day program, University of Maryland Extension Ag Educator, Jessica Flores taught the entire kindergarten grade at Willards Elementary School, allowing them to have an opportunity to discover what role farmers play in growing the many grains and vegetables students often see growing in the fields as they ride to and from school on the bus.
Each day included a hands on activity about seeds, what resources are needed for all plants to grow, learning what role soils play, how farmers protect the lands, water conservation on farms, and what grains and vegetables look like before they are taken from a raw product to be prepared for the grocery stores. Many kindergarteners where amazed at the many types of grain seeds there are. They learned that some vegetables grow underground – such as potatoes and carrots. The most popular seed of the week were the tiny carrot seeds!
These enthusiastic kindergarteners finished their program on the final day by learning how they could become farmers at home. Students were allowed to pick five seeds they had learned about throughout the week and plant a “garden in a glove” to take home, giving them an opportunity to share with family their new found learning and excitement about how food comes from farms.