On Friday, May 5th, students, teachers, and parents all had the chance to join a celebration of the work students in Diane Whelan’s class did on agriculture and arts over the past year.
The Grade 3 classroom was awarded two grants – one from the Little Green Thumbs program, and one from Arts NL. The grants allowed the class to grow their own vegetables in their classroom and explore and study Newfoundland culture through various forms of art.
Students showed off their artistic creations and the vegetables they grew at Friday's event inside the school's gymnasium.
Whelan, who applied for the grants, said they allow students to learn beyond the textbooks, saying that she feels as though having hands-on experience with things like this is far more beneficial than just sitting down and reading through a book.
“Sitting down and telling kids about Newfoundland’s culture is one thing,” explained Whelan, “but getting them out and showing them, letting them really experience it, that’s what’s going to make them actually want to learn. I feel like it’ll stick with them a lot longer this way.”
The school’s gymnasium was filled with various kinds of artwork done by students that portrayed different aspects of Newfoundland culture, including the fishing industry, and folklore like Newfoundland fairies.
As well as this, food was prepared for the event using vegetables grown by students in the classroom such as savory, cucumbers, and basil.
Little Green Thumbs is an indoor gardening program that provides schools with the necessary equipment to become food providers from within their classroom. Any food not used during school is given to students to bring home and cook with their families. Students have been growing vegetables in their classroom since late 2016, and have continued up until now.
Through the Arts NL grant, Whelan’s students were provided with the materials to explore several forms of art, including sketching, painting, and sculpting. The grant also allowed them to invite local artists to come and present to the class.
“(The Little Green Thumbs program) goes hand-in-hand with our science curriculum, as well as our health course. The Art Smarts grants also went hand in hand with our art and social studies program, so it all blends together really nicely.”
“Plus, the kids absolutely love it,” added Whelan, gesturing to several groups of young students excitedly presenting their hard work to their friends and families.