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Rooftop Garden and Shared Kitchen at ECC

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Our Pre-Kindergarten students at the Early Childhood Center are currently studying a Unit of Inquiry (UOI) on Sharing the Planet. To gain an understanding of the importance of nature and the invaluable resources it provides, they are spending quality time at the Rooftop Garden and utilizing the space of greenery for seed planting and harvesting. By rolling up their sleeves and roughing it outdoors, the children are gaining firsthand experience about all things nature, as well as learning the specifics, such as the conditions necessary for seeds to grow.

According to Pre-Kindergarten Teacher and Team Leader Ms. Hannah Douglas, to most people, going to the garden may seem like simple play-based learning in the dirt. However, there is certainly more than meets the eye. The children are, in fact, developing their gross motor skills by shoveling, picking vegetables and fruits with their bare hands, and working about. As they move their shoulders, elbows, wrists, and then fingers in the various farming activities, they are improving their pre-writing skills (which in all ECC classrooms, there are learning areas to support this).

Equally of importance, the young minds are learning about the lesson of reducing, reusing, and recycling to help maintain our precious Earth, which is in line with the BCIS mission to challenge and empower students to be compassionate and inspired people, who act for the good of all and for the sustainable development of the world. Regarding the subject of sustainability, Ms. Douglas has stated there are even plans in the near future for the students to make compost out of collected fruit snack scraps from various classes and lunch vegetable cuttings from the school’s food service provider, bringing everything full circle.

After planting seeds, observing their growth, and then harvesting the vegetables, it is part of the students’ lessons to taste the fruits of their labor! And so, the kitchen area is another place the young knowledge seekers spend much time in. Recently, the students took the items they grew and used it to make their own lunches! Kindergarten Teacher Ms. Sarah Metzger, who previously taught Pre-Kindergarten, mentioned that utilizing the items the children grew in the Rooftop Garden teaches them many important life lessons, including the importance of sharing with others. When the lesson is brought to the kitchen, specific roles are given to each student, whether it is cleaning or cutting the vegetables, which they learn as part of their UOI on Family Relationships. She also reiterated that through these activities, the students’ fine and gross motor skills are developed.

It is noteworthy to mention that through these lessons on the Rooftop Garden and kitchen, the students are not only able to learn where their food comes from, but also gain an appreciation for these natural resources available. Since they are able to see where these ingredients originate, they gain an interest to try even strong smelling items that they might not normally eat, such as basil. Ms. Metzger shared an interesting anecdote in which a parent was completely shocked that her child at the dumplings made in class. The parent stated her son always refused to eat any “jiaozi” at home, and thus was completely, but pleasantly surprised that he finally did eat some at school. Ms. Metzger did mention that it just takes some time for a child to get used to certain foods, and forcing them will never work. Rather, children need their time and pace to try new foods.

New adventures in the Rooftop Garden and kitchen areas at the ECC will continue to be had, with new foods to be tasted, and new patches of land to be harvested. We will keep you dear readers posted on the latest happenings, so please stay tuned.

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BCIS is accredited by the CIS (Council of International Schools) and WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), which demonstrates that the school meets demanding international standards in all the areas of philosophy and objectives, curriculum, governance and management, staff, student support services, resources, and student and community life.Visit www.cois.org and www.acswasc.org for more information.

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation, motivated by its mission, focused on the student. The three programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Founded in 1968, IBO currently works with 2,771 schools in 138 countries to develop and offer three challenging programmes to over 763,000 students aged 3 to 19 years.Visit www.ibo.org for more information.

We live by a spirit of inspiring others, achieving ones goals and creating a better world.

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