I am a Gardening Teacher based in Mexico City. I am currently working in Rootland School, where my program serves about 200 children aged 2 -12, from pre-K to upper elementary.
To provide a learning atmosphere that encourages students to recognize and learn about the deep connections that exist between humans and the natural systems that surround us, how they feed us and sustain us and how all life in our planet ultimately depends on them.
- To foster empathy and respect for living beings other than humans, be they animals, plants or fungi.
- To raise awareness about the origin of our food: where it comes from, how it is grown, its nutritional value, advantages and disadvantages of different cultivarion techniques, the impact of transporting food over long distances, and everything else that must happen before our meals are served.
- To ellicit a curious attitude when learning about natural systems and to channel this spirit into hands-on experimentation and scientific inquiry, thus enabling science teaching rooted in a relevant and experiential basis.
- To provide practical knowledge about food production, compost systems and other concepts from Permaculture as alternative ways both of producing food and taking responsibility for the environmental crisis we face.
- To develop better eating habits and provide access to locally sourced and highly nutritious food.
The gardening class utilizes a hands-on model. The students themselves usually form teams and choose the activities they will focus on, thus encouraging a practical, teamwork oriented spirit.
Group sizes range between 5 and 20 students, small enough to enable close supervision but large and diverse enough to have a variety of projects for students to choose.
Academic activities and projects are enriched by frequent reflections in which the students ponder questions about their work, what they learned and its usefulness. They are encouraged to share their conclusions with the group, in this way every student becomes a teacher for their fellow students and also for myself as their educator. These discussions also encourage the development of social and communication abilities.
A key academic objective of my program is to support other subjects taught at the school, giving the knowledge imparted in other lessons (like science or art) a practical and empiric dimension.