Larkspur Elementary students team up with Stone Canyon Outdoor EdVenture chefs
Last month, students and staff at Larkspur Elementary School enjoyed a self-grown garden harvest soup, plus self-made desserts during their lunchtime. It was a meal they began preparing more than six months ago.
Larkspur Elementary School (LES) is an environment-based education school. Larkspur engages students through immersion in our local environment, or setting, as the context for learning. In this program, our staff provides hands-on educational activities in indoor and outdoor classrooms each day. Larkspur students benefit from student-led inquiry, true and original science activities, and real-world application of knowledge and skills.
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Earlier this year, the LES Garden Committee was discussing garden projects in which the students could engage, while also feeling connected to and prideful for their work.
Each class picked their vegetable of choice to go in the soup. During our Garden Day Tuesdays, the garden committee volunteers would meet a given class to plant their vegetable and herb seeds. Additionally, we spoke about how long the seeds would take to germinate, how far apart to plant the seeds for optimum growth potential and whether certain seeds and plants would grow in our natural environment. We spoke about composting, worked with worm composting bins and fed our garden this super food.
Throughout the rest of the spring and summer months we continued our Garden Day Tuesdays. The kids came out to maintain the garden and make observations. They generally earned a healthy respect for how long it takes to grow our own food. While the vegetables and herbs were growing, children learned about general garden maintenance. They worked hard pulling weeds by hand-- no pesticides in our garden! They mulched, composted and we even had some fun days of garden bingo, garden scavenger hunts, planting bulbs, making seed bombs and geo-caching! I believe the most important thing the kids learned was perseverance and patience tending to our garden, it’s a long wait but worth it in the end!
Finally, after the wait it was time for harvest! Classes came out to the gardens to pull their vegetables and herbs and harvest our garden.
We are so thankful for the recent partnership with Bonnie Diamond, Executive Chef at the Stone Canyon Outdoor EdVentures Center! Chef Bonnie has been so very gracious donating her time to help the Garden Committee with the Farm to Table Dinner we prepared in September and also with the LES Harvest Soup project. Chef Bonnie and her Sous Chef, Kim were joined in the LES kitchen by Mrs. Tweete’s 4th grade students, who learned kitchen techniques such as the importance of hand washing and kitchen safety. They also received hands on experience peeling and washing the vegetables and learned the differences between grocery store bought vegetables and our homegrown LES garden vegetables. Mrs. Eckert’s and Mrs. Geiger’s 3rd grade classes also came through the kitchen to create sample desserts from the raspberries that they harvested from the LES garden. It’s amazing really that the bears didn’t get to those raspberries first! A huge thank you to LES Kitchen Manager, Karen Cruz for letting us take over your kitchen for a time!
During their lunch break all students and staff got the opportunity to taste the soup and also the wonderful raspberry dessert. We were also happily joined by numerous staff members from the Stone Canyon Outdoor EdVenture Center, as a show of our schools’ budding partnership.
“Forming a partnership between Stone Canyon and Larkspur Elementary School was an easy decision and one that our entire team was excited about putting together," said Jolee Jones, Director of Outdoor Education at Stone Canyon. "It has allowed for teachers from both sites to collaborate and enhance their teaching style, whether it's in the classroom or outside on the trails. Ultimately, the students are the ones who benefit; experiencing lessons with rich content and a hands-on approach that integrate seamlessly with the EIC focus at Larkspur Elementary School.”
LEARN MORE: Stone Canyon Outdoor EdVentures
The feedback from the students and staff was fabulous! They really enjoyed the soup and the dessert, and were excited that they all had a hand in creating it. This is a wonderful example of how the students at LES are able to learn in their school's natural environment.