Thursday, March 29, 2012

March '12 Educational Tip

We, as caregivers, are invested in giving our children the best education we can provide. There are a whole assortment of elements that are part of a child’s education. Yes, we need to keep on top of programs being offered, topics covered in school and how they are presented to the students. We all want the best for the children in our lives. Our focus is constantly hovering over the academic foundation and sometimes we forget to take a measured look at our children as a whole. Education is reading and math, science and social studies; yet, it is also about making smarter food choices and it is the core focus of the sustainable agriculture movement of getting children to understand the connection of the earth and the food we eat.
This past week, First Lady Michelle Obama, planted vegetables, potatoes, beans and tomatoes in the garden at the White House.  She had students help her and everyone got their hands dirty and planted the vegetable and herb plants in raised container beds, with the help of one of the White House chefs, explaining what he planned to do with the produce in the coming growing season.
Childhood obesity is at a record high and this year the familiar food pyramid changed to a plate to better help children visualize what a healthy meal, with appropriate sized portions, looks like as a meal in front of someone at a table. Children are viewed as test scores and statistics in plenty of the areas of education. It is important to encourage students to see themselves as people and the impact they can have as champions of a cause.
You don’t have to plant an entire garden in the middle of rolling hills to help a child understand the connection between food that is grown and what you eat at a meal. A few pots placed on an apartment balcony can serve as a platform to watch a tomato plant grow and start to bear fruit. A small patch of soil to grow some cucumbers that train up a trellis or some herbs planted in the corner of a yard can open up a world of understanding of where the food you eat comes from in its simplest form.
Even if you don’t think you have a green thumb, give it a try this growing season and help your child understand the importance of good health and healthy choices.

Be Well 
Alice Knisley Matthias
SFC Educational Writer

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