Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sowing The Seeds Of Education

By Sandy Eller, VIN News 

Suffern NY - A new initiative introduced recently at one Monsey elementary school will turn science, math, nutrition and halacha into a hands on experience, by using a recently launched school garden to grow food, do a mitzvah and also function as a teaching tool.

Yeshiva Darchei Noam is the first yeshiva to sign up as part of Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension School Garden Network in Rockland County, with a project that began this past spring.  Boys in all grades were given seeds to start in their classroom, with an official Garden Replanting Day held in mid-June, where students, parents and staff members spent a busy Sunday afternoon transplanting the plants into plots, divided by grade.

“How wonderful that our boys are involved in a hands-on activity, teaching them life skills, patience and perseverance,” Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, founder and dean of the yeshiva, told VIN News.  “It gives the kids a sense of fulfillment and it is an invaluable lesson for them to learn that food doesn’t come in a bag.”

Rabbi Horowitz, who is both a noted educator and lecturer and is considered to be an authority on child raising, hopes to be incorporating the garden into next year’s curriculum in a variety of different ways.

“Aside from the obvious science lessons, we hope to use the school garden in lessons on the lamed tes melachos as well as the environment and recycling,” said Rabbi Horowitz.

The school garden is located on a property located three miles away from the school and currently contains a variety of plantings including zucchini, peppers, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans, eggplant, strawberries, corn and flowers.  The plots are fenced in to prevent them from being destroyed by deer, groundhogs and other animals.

“We have a rotation of families volunteering weekly to care for the garden over the summer months,” explained parent Miriam Zisman, one of the co-directors of the school’s gardening project.  “By joining with the Cornell Cooperative Extension School Garden network, we have the ability to attend workshops and get advice and support. We are hoping to do a periodical gardening newsletter which will include healthy eating ideas, health awareness, tips and recipes for in season fruits and vegetables. ”

For the rest of the article, click here