Ellerton Students Develop Skills From Garden

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The creation of an educational garden at Ellerton Primary School, St. George, has led to students there acquiring several necessary skills, much to the pleasure of Principal, Donna Allman.

The garden, designed with assistance from Slow Food Barbados (SFB) under its 12 Gardens in 12 Months Campaign, was today showcased to Education Minister, Ronald Jones, by staff and students.

Mrs. Allman noted that the experience was a unique and dynamic one, which added a new dimension to their curriculum allowing students to utilise their multiple intelligences such as exploring, experimenting, problem solving and spatial understanding.

She pointed out that along with teachers, the students worked in teams ???designing and visualising the concepts of where they would place the different seedlings???.

???It also engaged them in their interpersonal abilities, working together as a team to build, to construct, to plant and to reap. I can therefore suggest to you that our students are now nature smart ??? understanding nature, even the simple thing as understanding the need for the centipede??? and all the other creepy crawlies,??? she declared.

Director for Community Outreach and Education with SFB, Julie Hooper-McNeel, while giving the rationale behind the campaign, said: ???Our purpose is really to reconnect youth with where their food comes from, experiencing the pleasure of growing and eating good, clean food, and also to create a new generation of youth excited about a conscious, sustainable and regenerative future in agriculture.???

She said SFB hoped to have thriving garden committees in each of the educational garden programmes, with each creating its own mission and vision, providing students with support and linking them with professional volunteers in different areas of organic growing, nutrition and culinary arts.

Mrs. Hooper-McNeel also revealed that the campaign looked at the integration of the school garden into the curriculum in as many subjects as possible, such as Math, Science, Language, English and Arts, and on facilitating positive experiences for the island???s future generation of leaders in agriculture.

All this, she noted, was with the intention of leading a more robust, agricultural system that would see not only an increase in food security but also food sovereignty.

Slow Food Barbados began its educational gardens programme in 2013, with two school gardens. Following the success with these, they set out to install and provide logistical and financial support to 12 schools and institutes in the span of 12 months.

The campaign was launched in April 2015, and has to date successfully installed 10 gardens across the island at five primary schools, two research institutes and three secondary schools, at a cost of $36,000.??

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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