In the winter, after school enrichment gardening classes at Enos Garcia Elementary shift into cooking classes where students have the chance to learn recipes using foods that they have grown.
Students in Enos Garcia Elementary 1st grade classes learn about healthy eating habits by creating a Veggie Rainbow on a Stick!
Students are taught that healthy eating begins by washing hands until they have sung the ABC song all the way through.
Students and teachers embarked on a culinary journey this year by trying out foods that were new to them. Trying something new all together helps students gain courage to explore new tastes.
Students at Enos wanted to learn how to make pizza quesadillas They loved how easy it was to make. Recipes in hand, they headed home to try it out with their families.
Students give their feedback about the new foods they have made and tried by giving a thumbs up or down. We encourage students to use as many descriptive words as they can when describing their food experiences.
Growing Community Now Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program at Enos Garcia Elementary School
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable First Grade Pilot Program began during the last week of November 2017. Five first grade classes are visited weekly for a 45 minute nutrition and cooking lesson. The beginning goals of the program were to introduce students to healthy nutritional concepts and to increase their knowledge about fruits and vegetables by tasting produce in a variety of ways and using new recipes that can be incorporated into the school lunch program.
During each session, students are invited to explore and help create the recipe using their senses and observation abilities. Students observe colors, textures and smells in order to identify ingredients. Recipes feature a variety of color and are simple enough to be reproduced at home with ease. Through the nutritional component of the lessons, students learn about the vitamins and nutrients that are available in fruits and vegetables and how they positively effect the body. One strong nutritional concept that is brought to students attention in every class is the natural color of the foods and how that color aids the body for growth and health. The students are encouraged to use a variety of vocabulary words in order to describe their food experience. They also participate in the entire process of cooking including helping to cut, chop, and mix as well as serve, clean up, wash dishes, and compost the left overs. Every class ends with a informal survey of thumbs up if they liked it or thumbs down if they didn't.
Another aspect of nutrition that is brought to the students attention during each session is that of local produce. Class recipes use produce that can be or is locally grown as well as produce that the children grow in the school gardens. Eating foods that are produced in gardens and local farms is fresher and has more nutrients available than produce that has to travel thousands of miles to before being consumed. The students of Enos Garcia Elementary participate in growing and harvesting their school gardens and are excited to learn how they can prepare foods that they are able to grow. Students are actively caring for health of the micro-environment of the gardens by composting left overs from the classes. The students also help to plant starts for the school gardens in the spring. These activities are encouraging a deeper knowledge of the cycle of life and of plants.
The students have been very receptive to the program. They look forward to their weekly participation and feedback from both teachers and parents has been positive. Growing Community Now would like to expand the program in the 2018-2019 school year to include the kindergarten and second grade. Exposing young students to the variety of tastes in fruits and vegetables expands their pallets and allows them to create a taste for a wider variety of foods which in turn provides more opportunity for them to receive the nutrition they need for proper growth and development. We are also very interested in following the student from the first grade program this year into second grade next year so as to track their nutritional knowledge and culinary skills as well as to keep providing the students an opportunity to continue to develop and put to use their new skills.