Where does our food come from? How do vegetables and fruits grow? Who makes our food?
These are questions that first grade students explore each spring at Sea Crest. In one of the major project units of the year, students tour several local farms and ranches from Pescadero to Pacifica, and even visit the Daly City Farmer’s Market to learn about the science of food production. Students also get their hands dirty in their own produce garden on our campus. The unit culminates in a farmer’s market each spring.
Complemented by a variety of local farms and ranches, the HEAL Project is Sea Crest’s most significant partner for the farming unit. Students take two field trips to HEAL where they first plant and then maintain plants as a part of HEAL’s garden. Those vegetables and others from HEAL are available at the Farmer’s Market at the end of the unit and all proceeds from the market go back to HEAL to be invested in the local market match program. This program supplements funds for coastside residents to shop at farmer’s market who otherwise might not be able to afford fresh produce in their diets.
The farms project is one of many project-based units that students take on in First Grade to develop a deeper understanding of the world around them. Following their neighborhood study in the winter, the project weaves science, reading, writing, and even math into understanding our food sources and basic nutrition. Students delight in the opportunity to learn in hands-on ways from petting goats to planting and nurturing fresh produce. This year, students even had the chance to explore cooking with the creation of “plant part soup”.
First graders take particular delight in caring for the Sea Crest Garden. Built almost a decade ago by engaged parents, veteran teacher Mrs. Hanepen has kept the garden going with support of some of our older students and the after school program. Each spring, students plant their “babies”; tiny starting plant and seeds, and spend the next eight weeks watering, weeding, and protecting the plants as they grow. Everything that grows is harvested for the Farmer’s Market which will be on Friday June 7th this year. Seeing everything from their unit come together in this final project makes all of the learning feel more relevant and “sticky” for students; the primary goal of project based learning.