In Praise of Soil

Program Type: Garden Classrooms
Grade/Age: Kindergarten, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary
Number Served: 100-500
Year Founded: 2010

ALICE's arts, gardening, and nutrition program, In Praise of Soil is a collaboration with inner-city Oakland elementary schools. In Praise of Soil artists guide the children in creating visual arts projects based on the students' studies of plants, and integrate the art into existing science, social studies and language arts curricula. Students create temporary artwork as a means of expression, as a model of communication and collaboration, and as an inspiration for practicing interpersonal and literacy skills. At the end of the residency, parents and children will gather in a community-wide event where fresh fruits and artwork are shared.

ALICE believes that the garden is the heart of the school, a valuable classroom and fertile setting for collaboration among teachers, students, and parents. Many schools ALICE serves have lost their gardeners in the last year due to funding cuts, and their gardens are literally going to seed. It is our goal for In Praise of Soil to help revitalize the gardens at these schools and inspire students, teachers, and parents to work together to maintain this vital center of learning.

Methods: Over an 8-week residency, schoolchildren will:
• Plant fruits and vegetables in the garden
• Create temporary nature sculptures based on observation of fruits and vegetables
• Speak about their work using clear, coherent ideas
• Draw pictures of food and write about it using descriptive, detailed language
• Discuss the importance of healthy food for a healthy life
• Create artwork as a group and discuss ways to strengthen community through art
• Share artwork with the larger community through “Exhibitions of Learning” and the creation of a group nature sculpture

Expected Outcomes for students participating in the In Praise of Soil project are:
• Demonstrated understanding of grade-appropriate science standards, including life cycle of plants, properties of soil, and nutritional value of fruits and vegetables
• Increased literacy skills in speaking, listening, writing, and reading
• Demonstrated knowledge of basic elements of art, including line, texture, shape, and color
• Demonstrated ability to create solo, in small groups, and in large groups
• Increased focus, discipline, teamwork, self-esteem, perseverance, and risk-taking

 

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Name Description

Rosa Boshier

Last updated February 25, 2013