Green with envy over Morningside ES’ healthy approach
A belated congratulations to Morningside Elementary for being honored with a Healthy Schools award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation at the Healthy Schools Program Forum in New York last month. Morningside joined fellow APS member Burgess-Peterson Academy and 112 other schools across the country in receiving the award. (Read more about Burgess-Peterson’s award here.) There were 22 schools representing Georgia. Rachel Ray even showed up at the Alliance’s forum to congratulate the honorees. You can check out a Webcast of the ceremony here.
Here’s what Morningside’s program administrator, Whitney Woodward (pictured), had to say about it all, after the jump …
It began in the fall of 2007, when Morningside Elementary developed a pilot Farm to School program which encompasses garden-related curriculum, nutrition education and provides for more freshly prepared and desirable foods to be served in the cafeteria. The school first started a garden program for their kindergarten students. The students have worked in the garden and participated in a weekly garden-related lesson. Since that time, additional partnerships have developed with various community organizations to enable Morningside to expand the program.
The intent of the garden curriculum is to supplement classroom teaching with an outdoor classroom where math, science and social studies can be studied in a real life environment. The curriculum is also designed to support the wellness policy by teaching children about making healthy life choices for their bodies and the environment. Key partnerships include the nutrition department at Georgia State University. Professors, undergraduate and graduate students are currently working to identify and apply for grants to support the school’s programs. These students are also compiling garden-related curriculum for each grade that will be tied to the Georgia Performance Standards and are helping to develop a strategic plan for evaluating the programs. They have also offered to help ensure that any changes made to the cafeteria menu will meet the minimum requirements of the USDA for the National School Lunch program.
Other partners include a local restaurant owner who is interested in helping fund the garden project through dining events, an employee volunteer base and donations. A local gardener is acting as a farm mentor, providing guidance and resources to help the school develop a successful garden.