Digging Into the Connection Between Gardens and Classrooms at a Healthy Teacher Network Workshop

Mara Lazdins

by Mara Lazdins, School Programs Intern

Learning how to plant vegetables in milk crates lined with burlap bags or how to integrate a science lesson into growing herbs, left a positive impression on teachers who attended Healthy Teacher Network’s third workshop in October, 2010.

For the first time, a school hosted the event, which gave teachers the opportunity to experience a school culture that encourages wellness, being active and eating healthy. At the workshop, which took place at Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC), teachers toured the school grounds and learned how the teachers there incorporate the garden into all subjects including recess. Participants were also able to taste components of Chicago Public School’s recently revamped school lunch menu, which received positive reviews.

Like at past workshops, teachers were able to obtain resources on healthy eating and physical activity at the Resource Fair. Sixteen organizations were present offering tools, information, and other resources that teachers could take back to the classroom or implement within their school. Overall feedback revealed that participants enjoyed the school tour, garden, and learning about how AGC builds wellness and sustainability into the curriculum.

So far, over 80 schools have been represented at the three Healthy Teacher Network Workshops. These 80 schools represent 28 Chicago zip codes—with the highest number of teachers coming from West Town, Lower West Side/Bridgeport/McKinley Park, Logan Square and Rogers Park schools. Teachers have expressed that attending the Workshops has been an “invaluable networking opportunity”, “a great way to learn about what other teachers and other schools are doing”, and a way to gain “new ideas for their classrooms.”

For more information on the Healthy Teacher Network, visit its page on the CLOCC website.

Teachers enjoyed touring the school garden and hearing how AGC staff have incorporated it into classroom learning.

The Resource Fair was a great place to pick up information and hear about the work of neighborhood organizations.

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