by Holly Pacey (Education Coordinator)
This past spring, Falls Brook Centre had the pleasure of delivering fun hands-on programming to a group of students in grades one and two at Centreville Community School. With 23 eager participants, we traveled each week for six weeks from our satellite office in Fredericton to teach the students about agriculture in New Brunswick. Since we are a province who has strong ties to farming, this program offers students a chance to dive deeper into the many facets of food production – from where it starts to how it arrives on their plates.
Each week, we presented a topic that pertained to the theme as a whole. In week one, we began with a story and the students were introduced to agriculture on a broad scale. Terms like ‘livestock,’ and ‘crops’ were presented and discussed. We collectively determined what can be found on a farm, and even attempted to make butter (in the end, we had enough time to make whipped cream)! It was a great way to start the program and it didn’t take long for all of us to become friends. In week two, we wasted no time getting our hands dirty. Each student planted a tomato and pepper plant, which they took home at the end of the program. We also put seeds in sealed jars with damp paper towel, and took a guess at which one would grow the most. In the third week, the students got to raid a (faux) compost, after learning about the value of compost and what goes into it. We took a closer look at the seeds from their favourite vegetables with magnifying glasses and identified their unique features. On the fourth week of our program, we had a special treat – a visit to Sunrise Farm through their SPADE program. Located outside Woodstock, on the Campbell Settlement Road, the students had a blast interacting with the cows, the chickens, and the kittens on the premises. They were able to meet a calf and watch a milking take place as well. It was a learning opportunity for students, facilitators, and parents alike! In week five, we learned about pollination; how it works and how it is vital for the reproduction of plants and flowers. In week six, our last week together, the students explored the meaning of eating local and why it is valuable for their health and for the economy.
In six short weeks, our team covered the basics of agriculture with a specific provincial focus. At each meeting we provided snacks that were based on foods found in New Brunswick. These included carrot and celery sticks with sunflower seed butter, fresh strawberries and blueberries, apple slices and honey, homemade granola, and a berry smoothie with soy milk. This was a wonderful way to provide the students with some fuel while showing them that the healthy foods they enjoy every day can be grown and found in their home province. Each lesson was designed to fulfill New Brunswick curriculum outcomes, which ensured that the students were gaining enrichment while having fun. This was a fabulous group of students and a wonderful experience for all of us. We cannot wait for the next school year!