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Should Kids Get Their Hands Dirty at School?

January 29, 2010

Kids are learning how to cultivate crops, compost, and then cook the food they have grown, through the Edible Schoolyard program.  The program, developed by restaurateur Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, was first introduced at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California. 

The first New York affiliate will be built this summer at P.S. 216 in the Gravesend neighborhood of Brooklyn.  Teachers will use the garden to give students in prekindergarten to fifth grade lessons in art, math, history and science.  The hope is that the school will eventually become a center for the study of the environment and agriculture.

Critics of Edible Schoolyard claim classroom gardens do not help students meet the state standards for English and math; however, we could argue that teaching kids how to grow and cook their own food is an invaluable life lesson.  The Edible Schoolyard program not only does that, but teaches children pertinent issues such as sustainable agriculture, climate change and so much more.

Do you support gardens and kitchens as a vehicle for teaching at schools?  Leave your comments and let us know your thoughts.