With a vision to create a vibrant and sustainable connection throughout the community with youth and their families, the Community Garden was established in the summer of 2014.
Our first “bridge” became known as Learn-2-Grow. Realizing the opportunity to create transformation, new programs were developed and implemented using the pedagogy of service learning: preparation, action, reflection and celebration.
In addition, the programming would be longitudinal, beginning with kindergarten through 5th grade youth. Providing “life touch” opportunities throughout a child’s elementary educational experience would provide development of relationships
Each month the local Mattoon and Ashmore kindergarteners engage in our Learn-2-Grow program.
We have different activities planned for each month and bring all the supplies/crafts to the classrooms.
The students listen to the story and participate in activities relating to the topic of the month. Each topic is associated with the basics of gardening.
Each month the local Mattoon and Ashmore first graders engage in our Farm-2-Table program.
In the classroom, the students listen to the 10 minute lesson of the month and participate in activities relating to lesson.
In the teaching kitchen, the students get to make a healthy snack and do a taste test in which they have to put their "try-it" shoes on.
Each month the Mattoon and Ashmore 2nd graders participate in different activities related to farming. The students get to learn about what belongs on a farm, different kinds of farmers, and what farmers need to thrive.
In the Spring, the Mattoon 2nd graders will get the opportunity to visit our local community gardens and actually plant seeds and harvest crops!
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, each month the local Mattoon 3rd graders would be bused to nursing homes and they would participate in activities with the seniors.
Due to the pandemic, we created an interim program called Adopt-A-Senior. Each 3rd-grade class gets to 'adopt' a senior at a nursing home and each month, as a class, they create something to send to that senior.
Our Talents-2-Strengths program has been implemented into the Mattoon High School, Ashmore Elementary School, as well as the Williams & Riddle Elementary Schools. To begin, the students take an assessment to discover their top talents (future thinker, responsibility, relator, etc.).
We plan different activities that help the students understand their talents, and turn them into strengths. We also encourage them to embrace their talents, and utilize them outside of the classroom.
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