The dust has settled after a whirlwind week one. We did it!
Well, mostly. This week was, more than anything, a learning experience. Each day, we found new ways to improve the program and new ways to engage the students we’re teaching. On Monday, we realized that our program took much less time to complete than we thought it did, leaving a lot of unstructured time for kids to get distracted and stop listening. On Tuesday, the recipes we made were a huge success (thanks to Earth Fare and Lucky’s for providing chickpeas and bread to complement the various greens we got from the garden this week), proving to us that the ability to customize meals is key.
On Wednesday, we came to the garden patting ourselves on the back that we had mastered the perfect schedule: we planned a mini nutrition lesson and were prepared with a recipe we were sure the kids would love. Yet when the kids showed up, we were met with the rude awakening that well-thought out lessons and carefully planned lectures, in a sense, are the solution to the wrong problem. Instead of more planning, we realized that we need to plan less structure; instead of expecting ten distracted kids to focus on us for four hours, we could improve the time that they did listen by giving them some time to just play and be kids.
In the coming week, we’re anticipating doing just that. Instead of following the original schedule of the camp, which had us working in the garden for 45 minutes and then spending an hour and a half learning about what we’re eating and then cooking, we’ll do our nutrition lesson first, followed by some playing and letting off steam. Then, we’ll go back to the kitchen. After we review what we learned earlier that day, we’ll cook. We’ll finish up by eating our meal not in chairs scattered in the garden but rather around a dinner table, where one kid will be in charge of setting the table with silverware and cups. We hope that by mimicking the environment around a dinner table at home, kids will feel like they’re building community with others in their neighborhood.