SPOTLIGHT: Garden provides students opportunity

By Annie Getsinger

Herald & Review

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 9 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

"We got a lot of stuff out of the garden," Neuhaus said of the weeks leading up to school and the recent harvest day.

In addition, each classroom did a special project that had to do with health or nature. In some cases, the students made edible art projects. One classroom created models of cells using fruits and veggies.

"I think it was really impactful for the students," he said of creating these projects.

The garden has piqued the students' interest in growing and eating healthy foods, Neuhaus said.

"When you put the food in front of the kids, they're willing to try it, and a lot of times they like it," he said, adding that he hopes the children will develop healthy eating habits and mindsets that carry on into adulthood.

The project has also brought new learning experiences to students who otherwise might not have had access to their own gardens or fresh fruits and vegetables at home, he said.

The gardening program goes along with the school's commitment to encouraging and offering healthy mealtime choices, including fresh fruit and veggie options.

"For several years now, we've been on a campaign to make our school healthier," principal Mary Anderson said during an assembly that allowed the students to look back on the garden's progress.

Anderson talked about some of the positive changes the students have made in their eating habits and some of the reasons behind those changes.

Neuhaus said the school has an important responsibility to provide access to nutritious foods that students might not be able to have at home.

Nelson said Garfield teachers will continue to incorporate lessons from the American Heart Association's Teaching Gardens curriculum, and the school will plan and plant a garden again next year. She said she enjoyed seeing all the projects on display in the hallways during the harvest day.

"They were very, very creative," she said.

Online: http://bit.ly/QKALec

Information from: Herald & Review, http://www.herald-review.com

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