Farm Day Field Trip
San Juan Island preschoolers in the headstart program got to spend time on a farm today for some hands-on education (disguised as fun playtime). Rex and Lisa Guard opened their “Lazy G Ranch” family farm to welcome the kids along with several educational and community groups.
The kids got to play on tractors, glue wool on sheep (no, not real sheep), plant seeds in little cartons filled with dirt to take home, and just generally run around and have a good time learning about farms and agriculture. The event was brainstormed and created by Danna Diaz, Jennifer Rice, Stephanie Prima and Lisa Guard as a project for their Leadership San Juan Islands program.
Everything came together for a great experience – lots of volunteers and programs, the weather was nice, and the kids were very engaged and into all the stuff provided for them. Click to read more about it and see a gallery of 30 images of happy kids having fun on a farm.
Following is Stephanie Prima’s write-up of what the event was all about: (photos are below)
What: a Farm Day field trip for the Head Start children organized by a small team from the current Leadership San Juan Islands cohort.
Why: In modern society in general, there is a ‘disconnect’ between what we eat, and where our food comes from. Children may see packages in the grocery store of meat and poultry, produce and fruits, but rarely do they have the opportunity to learn how the food in those packages actually came to exist.
We are now faced with increasingly difficult food choices, high food costs, and are inundated with marketing of sugar-laden and unhealthy processed foods. It’s no wonder consumers have confusion about what are truly healthy choices for our families. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html) that 17% of children and adolescents in the US are obese, with high prevalence among low-income families. In addition, the staggering numbers of people suffering from food-related illnesses has caused health care costs to skyrocket.
Good food, locally grown, is vital to healthy life, and education is vital to a life with choices. With this field trip, children can have fun while learning, and educating our youth not only helps kids make better food choices, but also keeps farming alive.
Reaching out to young children is fulfilling, and makes a significant impact on their lives as well as ours. It is easy to overlook this small group of Head Start children, but the organizers of this event want them to know they are loved and cared about, and be prepared for a Healthy Start.
Who: The Leadership Team of
- Danna Diaz, Superintendent, San Juan Island School District
- Lisa Guard, Co-owner, Guard Farm
- Stephanie Prima, Infinite Body Joyful Joints™ instructor
- Jennifer Fay Rice, Community volunteer
Leadership San Juan Islands
Leadership San Juan Islands (LSJI) is a countywide program to educate and motivate community members interested in developing their professional skills and in learning more about issues affecting San Juan County.
Through a five-month long educational and experiential program, the 20 participants develop a trained network of people engaged in community work. They may be future politicians, business leaders, agency heads, educators, board members, and volunteers. Graduates have a long-standing influence, actively leading the community in positions of responsibility in employment, government, non-profit enterprise and community action.
The major areas covered in the training program are:
- State, county and municipal government
- Natural resources and land use planning
- Economic development
- Health, education and social services
- Arts, culture and history
Additional information can be found here: http://lsji.org/
Head Start promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families. Funding is provided by grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and are administered by the Office of Head Start (OHS).
Head Start programs are designed to support the comprehensive development of low-income children, including:
- Language and literacy
- Cognition and general knowledge
- Approaches to learning
- Physical Development and health
- Social and emotional development
Additional information on the nationwide program can be found here: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ohs/about/head-start
In Friday Harbor there are approximately 18 pre-schoolers in the Head Start Program, taught by Sarah Werling.
Skagit/Islands Head Start provides a safe, healthy, nurturing environment so that each family, child, and staff member may reach their potential within the community. Additional information on the local program can be found here: (http://www.sihs.skagit.edu/default.asp).
San Juan Center Preschool Head Start
Friday Harbor Elementary
97 Grover St.
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
sarah [.] werling [@] skagit.edu
Two Master Gardeners organized the produce/gardening section of the event, Glenn Hendrick and Tanja Williamson.
The WSU Master Gardener Program is a nationally recognized program that trains volunteers to serve their communities through horticultural education and outreach. Volunteers receive training, then provide educational information to the public in home and subsistence horticulture including vegetable and fruit gardening, lawn and landscape maintenance, composting, native plants, plant problem diagnosis, pest control and many other areas. Additional information can be found here: http://extension.wsu.edu/sanjuan/master-gardeners/
- Amanda Zee, of Sweet Earth Farm, provided pea seeds for the children to plant their own take-home project, and seedlings in various stages of growth so the children could see what to expect.
- Market Place/King’s Grocery provided fully matured fruits and vegetables for the children to identify.
- Spring Street School seniors Kayleen Rice, Kendra Islam, and Michaella Ibambasi participated as monitors throughout the event.
- Candace Jagel, LSJI alumnus, provided the goat milking demo station
- Derek Smith and the students at the S.T.E.M. Center developed a program for their 3-D printers to create sheep for the children to glue wool onto.
“Farming is a labor of love and way of life; sharing it with others through ‘hands-on, learning-by-doing, enriches all of our lives.” Lisa Guard
“It is critical that we teach children about eating healthy foods when they are young, so they will make better choices on their own as teens and adults. The lack of food education leads to a regular diet high in sugar and saturated fats as teens, followed by obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, and other health problems as adults.” Stephanie Prima
“Nelson Mandela said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ and for 4-year-olds it looks like playing!” Jennifer Rice
* * *
Click any photo below to enlarge. Photos by Jennifer Rice, Rex Guard and Tim Dustrude