On October 23, Hudson Valley Seed held the first of three meetings of the Education Advisory Committee, a new initiative of the organization to assess our new curriculum that was developed over the summer. The group of seven teachers was selected due to their high interest and enthusiastic participation in Hudson Valley Seed's program over the last few years. These teachers represent a good mix of our schools as well as all of the grades (K-2nd) that we teach. During this school year, the group will help us evaluate the clarity of concepts and effectiveness of activities in our curriculum. In addition, they will work with us to increase the connections made between the garden program and their classroom instruction.
For our first meeting, our friends at Drink More Good in Beacon provided the comfortable couch space in the front of their shop. We spent an hour and half discussing their past experience and the new changes to the curriculum. There was consensus that increasing class length from 45 mins to 1 hour was a positive step to cover the material more effectively. Given the longer class time, they appreciated that we are splitting the class into smaller groups and giving the teacher some activities to lead while the educator is doing a different activity in another part of the garden. We received great feedback about specific lessons, such as extending the Garden Alphabet book, which we create with our Kindergartners, from one lesson to something we work on throughout the year.
Our next meeting in January will address increasing evaluation measures and tailoring lessons to classes with exceptional learners (special education). All of these efforts will contribute to better outcomes for our students!