The GrowHaus and BEEs in the Garden partnered with a group of early educators and families of young children from the Northeast Denver region in the development of an early
gardening and nutrition curriculum. The BEEs curriculum is a framework for engaging and experiential learning with young children, families and teachers that nurtures the commitment to the garden as a place for learning and development and that ultimately leads to positive changes in a community’s healthy eating patterns.
To best support a deep attachment to healthy eating, a life-long love of the earth, and a caring for living things, young children must experience and authentically connect to the garden and to the healthy food that the garden yields. In addition to providing access to healthy food, a right of ALL children, the garden becomes an engaging learning environment that nurtures enduring understandings about life, diversity, community, caring and creativity. Working within the GrowHaus’ mission of food justice we encouraged the children to think about what it means to be healthy and listen to their bodies.
Educators and families worked together to engage young children the importance of slowing down and connecting with their natural world. While the parents were learning in the Micro-Farming class about creating a healthy environment, the children were learning alongside them in the BEEs project. Each day families ate a healthy meal, and talked about their day and what they learned. The children were often excited to share their learning with the parents, taking them to parts of the environment where they spent the day exploring.
Grounded in six Big Ideas we watched the children grow and change into more compassionate and caring individuals who were more curious about the food they eat and where it comes from. We saw the children become leaders and experts and share their knowledge with the other children and adults. A curriculum that encourages children to be curious about their health, their environment and the world in which we live is of utmost importance in food insecure communities. We built that foundation at the GrowHaus during the Summer of 2016.
Big Ideas and Enduring Understandings
Community and Culture
Compassion and Caring
Mindfulness and Movement
Health and Nutrition
Senses and the Seasons
Creativity and Expression
In the fall we will continue to embrace the Big Ideas to guide our work with the children and families and build on the knowledge and understandings we discovered this summer. Our genuine hope is to continue to expand this project in Northeast Denver, Denver and eventually across the state.
Article by Buell Leader Jenna Augustine and BECLP Faculty Member Lori Ryan