Ocean Knoll Elementary
The Sage Garden Project at Ocean Knoll Elementary has been conducting gardening and nutritional science classes each week for every Kindergarten through 6th grade student in the school since 2011. We conduct 24 classes a week for 29 weeks in the academic year. We also run several afterschool programs, free of charge, centered around gardening, cooking and healthy lifestyles. The goal of the program is to reduce the incidence of diabetes. Because the disease is developing at an epidemic rate in the Hispanic/Latino population, Ocean Knoll's population made it an ideal candidate for Sage Garden Project's pilot program.
Garden and Nutritional Science classes are 70 minutes each week for grades 4-6 and 35 minutes for grades K through 3. Our lessons incorporate the philosophies of inquiry based, action and reflective learning. Each lesson has a large theme with each grade level focusing on an age appropriate aspect of the larger theme. For example in the garden the large theme may be Seedling Care and the grade level focus is broken into subtopic such as Sterilizing Containers, Transplanting, Hardening Off, Greenhouse Care and Direct Sow.
Our organic garden consists of 21 raised beds, 3 types of composting, a small greenhouse, and a shaded outdoor classroom. The lessons follow the rhythm of the garden to allow for maximum hands-on learning. Each lesson provides time to question and discover the theme, time to experience hands-on learning through our garden "jobs", time to reflect and share and of course time to taste the rewards of our labor.
In the nutritional science lab the students get to complete the cycle of plant it, grow it, prepare it and eat it! The produce that is available from the garden drives the lessons. Our nutritional science lessons teach healthy food choices and preparation techniques. The nutritional science lab has 2 cooktops, 2 three part sinks, 2 microwave / convection ovens, 2 Vitamix blenders, 2 KitchenAid mixers, 2 dishwashers and a refrigerator allowing the student to acquire many types of healthy food preparation skills.
The Sage Garden Project at Ocean Knoll is focused on its core mission, to prevent diabetes in at-risk youth, but the positive aspects are myriad and multi-fold – benefiting the participants at every level, and contributing to richer, fuller life experiences for those it touches.