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Local organizations team up for summer learning

August 16, 2012

As part of the Boys and Girls Club of Pawtucket's Food FUNdamentals program, youngsters in volunteer teacher Kerri Gray's class (at left) sample fruit "smoothies" made from locally grown fruit while math lessons are incorporated.

PAWTUCKET — Just as unpopular vegetables can be disguised as tasty treats to make kids want to eat them, so, too, can “summer school” be made to look enjoyable. The Boys and Girls Club of Pawtucket has managed to do just that with its Food FUNdamentals program.
A part of the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative, the new, six-week program was designed for middle school-age youths who spend their daytime at the Boys and Girls Club. The program, which involves 40 kids, focuses on healthy lifestyles, particularly involving food, nutrition and exercise, combined with instruction in literacy and math. What ratchets up the fun quotient is the “seed-to-table” approach, which involves the youths planting and cultivating a garden and then using what they harvest to cook with.
There were a lot of partners involved in developing the first-time program. Teachers from the Pawtucket School Department developed math-related activities based around gardening and cooking that include ratios, measurement, fractions and multiplication. Others designed a literacy component around a book called “Seedfolks,” a collection of vignettes based on a community garden and how it brought a diverse group of people together.
Other partners included the University of Rhode Island's SNAP Education, which provided nutrition and healthy living classes, the Children's Gardening Network (RICAPE) which helped with the science of gardening, and Shri Studio, which provided on-site yoga instruction. Other instructors provided culinary classes and art projects based on the themes of health, nutrition and fitness.

Read more in Friday's print edition.


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