We believe that education for all children should integrate opportunities to understand about the importance of a healthy body and mind. Through our Earth to Table program, it is our mission to offer children developmentally appropriate opportunities for physical activity, gardening, and cooking. Our vision is for every child to learn healthy practices from the start and lifestyle habits that will last a lifetime. Additionally, we hope to offer opportunities for other programs to learn from our model.
The Children’s House Earth to Table program includes three curricular areas; Physical Education, Della Terra (gardening and botany) and Kitchen Classroom. We create opportunities and experiences for children to learn about the importance of good physical health through activity and by eating healthy food. These are some of our school’s highest priorities. By regular and consistent experiences in these curricular areas, students have daily opportunities to move, grow and eat well.
Students at The Children’s House, an independent Montessori School in Traverse City Michigan, are able to dig their hands deep into growing and preparing the food they eat for lunch and snack each day.
The Earth to Table Program at The Children’s House integrates the students’ interactions with food into many classroom settings. Students are able to be a part of planting, tending, harvesting, preparing, cooking, and consuming the food they eat every day.
A student may plant a seed in the classroom as part of a lesson and move the seed into a pot in our greenhouse and tend to it during Della Terra, our garden classroom, and harvest it for use in our kitchen classroom and finally eat it for lunch. We are building from the earth to the table, and our students' hands are digging deep into the soil and their food.
The key to our program is integration. We strive to incorporate the entire school to work together to create healthy bodies and minds. One student may work with four or more teachers in the process of creating a meal. From our Della Terra teacher, to the classroom teacher, off to the kitchen classroom, and finally to our Earth to Table teacher in order to creatively reflect on the experiences with Earth to Table. We are linking our curriculum together in order to develop a flow to the lessons our students are learning. Lessons about food can integrate into studies about everything from botany to history to culture.