Our Caterpillars are happiest outside, or when they sing and dance to songs, practice their letter and number recognition, along with their colors. We ARE a play-based, nature focused progressive learning environment, but our youth advances early through integrated learning, all Reggio Emilia inspired.
Here a little peek into our classroom with Ms Lauren:
Our students get to spend most of their morning outside in our gardens (and time in the afternoons, of course), searching for natures treasures, and get dirty!
This week we’ve discussed and visited the “Rainforest”, and we’ll continue the lessons with the kids next week as all had such a fun time creating art, imagining outdoors, and watching nature’s magic.
Our mornings usually start by us all gathering and reading some fun books during circle time, and this week we’ve learned about the rain forest and the animals that live there. All had so much fun exploring.
During our outdoor play circle time, the children pretended to be looking for animals in the rain forest, and when the upper classes came out to the garden, we all spotted a big praying mantis. Afterwards these little sprouts pretended to make their own rain forest climate. Several were trying to drown out all the big ants and snakes in the “rain forest” by adding lots of mud to sticks to them.
The Owls (Kindergarten – Grade 1 Classroom) had a very full week learning about the sky through integrated math, science and art activities. We reviewed the earth’s position with the moon and sun, what we see in the daytime vs. the nighttime sky and why. Next week we will be expanding our studies to include the planets and larger solar system.
Here a little peek into some of our daily lessons and explorations:
Everyone made it for the creek walk on Monday (our Creek Walks are on every Monday and Friday, and in-between for science lessons, should there be time)! We caught crawfish and collected a little bit of trash that has flown in from surrounding areas.
“Ms. Libby, why aren’t these people using the trash can?” – L.
The first part of the week we talked about what we see in the sky during the day and why. The Owls used a visual model to represent our position to the sun as the earth rotates and our knowledge of world geography to identify the countries that are experiencing night during our day and vice versa.
We then discussed symmetry in nature and created clouds, describing what we saw in the shapes.
Trimming the flowers from our basil plants so it will produce more delicious leaves!
While doing our garden work we spotted a Praying Mantis. We dubbed him protector of the garden as they eat other insects that could be harmful to our plant leaves.
A favorite question: Why is the sky blue? The Owls learned about how light from the sun enters our atmosphere and collides with molecules in the air. Blue light scatters more because of it’s short wavelengths, in comparison to other colors, creating blue sky! We recorded our observations in the form of art.
Making our own geo boards to create patterns for math!
Art projects with Ms. Silvia. Each Owl created their own unique home with painters tape and oil pastels while practicing family/ house vocabulary in French.
“Knock, knock, knock! Chef Feliiiiipe!”
Let’s make Baba Ganoush. Great idea, thank you Chef Felipe!
Seeds! As a group we discussed what kinds of seeds we eat and observed the different shapes, sizes and color of each individual seed. Here the Owls are sprouting green beans!
The children categorized seeds by size.
“Yoga can help you scratch your knee if you have and itch. You can just do tree pose and you don’t have to bend over.” -N.
To escape the heat we traveled to Iceland! The Owls explored visuals of landscapes, traditional homes, cuisine, native animals and learned a few words in Icelandic language. Also, in connection with our studies of the sky we learned about Aurora Borealis and how the amazing phenomena occurs. Then, we created our own dancing lights in a nighttime sky.
Recording our travels while practicing world geography and direction.
This has long been a topic around the Community Table. How to get our children to actually eat all the goodness we prepare? How do we model healthy eating? And, what happens with their eating habits once they leave our Culinary Classes?
We all hope to inspire our young children to eat more produce and whole foods. But then, life happens. Long hours at work. Little time to shop and once at the store, it’s hard to not grab the prepared meals, because let’s face it: it’s cheaper and more convenient, and it’s only going to be This. One. Time!
Here’s what we’ve learned and how we approach healthy eating:
• Children eat our palate of foods because their taste buds are not polluted with synthetic flavorings or sugar. And, for some they are upon entering our program, and it might take a few tries to get them to come around, but consistency (with most everything in life), is key. We are careful to not ‘take’ away all the familiar foods they love, and instead opt for healthier ingredients and ways to create those foods. We also make our children a big part of the cycle to healthier eating.
How so? We include. Let them be part of the gardening. Part of the shopping. Part of the prepping and slicing and dicing. Get them confident in the kitchen. Let them use knives.
Say what? Yes. We do encourage our families to let their children handle knives starting at age 3. A butter knife. Upon graduation to a carving knife. Then move on up. Parent welcome this (and luckily are the ones to supervise their Sprouts).
• Just because an infant spits out a food at your first attempt to give it to them does not mean that they don’t like it. It’s just different to them, so you reintroduce it time and time again until they accept it. Since babies learn a lot from facial expressions and voice tone, new foods should be introduced with a smile on your face and words of encouragement!
• We love choices, but we are a “one-meal” program: If there’s a student who does not like a particular food we are making for lunch, we will not make a separate lunch to their liking just for them. Instead, we will encourage to try, to pick from a variety of greens, nuts/seeds and other add-on’s to enrich their palate and meal. One does not fit all, and it’s tricky to go from fries to raw salads, but we transition slowly throughout the sessions: we encourage. we praise. we empower by letting them choose their favorite veggies to add, fruits to slice, etc.
• It’s more difficult to get a child who has been altered by having junk foods to switch to healthy foods, but it is doable with patience. We’ve made extensive use of children’s picture books that get the message across. Whenever possible, children should be allowed to help prepare the meals or do the juicing. They also always love to grow the food and eat it right from our small School garden.
• Nourish. Share. Repeat. The trick to changing children’s eating habits is not only to enforce it during our classes, but to dive into their community, their tribe, their homes. By launching our shared-harvest program, we thrive to model healthy eating to parents also. We share. We always invite them to learn about creating healthy meals. And when our children cook, we try to make a little extra so they can surprise their entire family (not just share with mom/dad during the lesson). And shared goodness always sparks new conversations around our Community table. Recipe sharing? Oh yes!
P.S.: If your young child has a play kitchen set, now is the time to throw out all the ‘garbage’ plastic foods that it typically comes with and replace them with toy fruits and veggies. How about some smoothie pop with that salad? Let’s get creative.
Built upon the Reggio Emilio understanding of the child, we provide children a nurturing and wholesome environment which allows the imagination to unfold. Our camps are led by carefully selected Teachers who are enthusiastic about wholesome nutrition, being active + creative, embracing the power of play, and building a strong community for and with our children.
The majority of our days are spent outside visiting the lake, trails, community gardens, urban farms, or diving into creative activities at the Schoolhouse, ranging from soap/candle and love potion making to creating Art and Mosaic Installations, learning about Organic Gardening, staying active with Yoga, Dance, Movement, Music or cooking with one of our amazing Chefs.
ALL snacks are included and a healthy lunch can be provided daily by our Chef for a small fee. Does your child have allergies or food sensitivities? Are you eating raw, vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free? We can accommodate them all. Just be sure to note special notes on your Enrollment Form!
Naps not included – we will be active and create memories. Your little one will sleep soundly on the way home, dreaming about camp days and our eco-healthy schoolhouse.
NEW CAMP OFFERINGS WILL BE POSTED every March.
We are excited to announce that we are changing our name to Wholesome Generation®.
Over the past five years we have grown from a handful of volunteers into one of the most creative and unique organizations in Austin, serving more than 500 families every year. After starting a first classroom in 2009, we’ve launched our community magazine and blog, and added a community culinary program in 2011, serving mostly at-risk youth and families. Our programs are in several pre-K and school programs each year and hundreds of youth and families depend upon our programs to learn valuable skills.
Don’t worry, we will still provide our activities and workshops, our after school sessions, and community-based programs to inspire youth to get healthy and be courageous, critical thinkers, and confident leaders in their community.
We are excited to share this new development with you, and thank you for your support as we move forward. And if you think we’ve done a lot in the last 5 years, just wait until you see what Wholesome Generation® will do next!
Wholesome Generation® roll’s out its newest program: Wholesome Generation FOOD FOR LIFE.
WG has been educating children and their families about healthy eating for some time and we are now launching our community workshops, teaching hand’s on culinary classes + camps that are uniquely shaped to accommodate the needs of our families!
Our WG lessons are positive experiences with healthy foods. Through hands-on classes, children learn that good food is delicious and that cooking is an important way to take care of yourself. A 3rd grader said recently: “Do you know what my true passion of food is? It’s the way food smells and tastes to me!”
The WG Culinary and Nutrition education curriculum includes hand’s on cooking lessons and fruit and vegetable tastings that meet academic standards in math, science, language arts, social studies, health education, and art.
Stay tuned for more updates, new partners, the development of our community kitchen space and more!
WG is rolling out cooking camps this fall at Partner-Locations.
Ready to enroll your child to learn about local produce, explore where our food comes from, and learn hand’s on skills in preparing their own healthy snacks? We’re teaming up with local Chef’s to bring you an amazing experience this fall.
The first few pilot classes are FREE – be sure to sign up HERE for more info (full release with dates/times and location info to be released soon) and be sure to let us know what your child would like to learn at our camps.
Questions? Contact us
Bringing out the HERO in YOU.
Blog By Brent King.
Like so many good things, Wholesome Generation never sits still; it’s always moving forward with new ideas and new programs. Hero Fit is the latest in a line of programs that follow one basic idea: make families healthier.
The goal of Hero Fit is simple: empower families by giving them the tools they need to achieve their personal goals and maintain a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle reducing the likelihood of having serious health issues later in life.
Along with Lene Saint-Orens, the Founder of Whole Kids Projects, our families will work with Maurice Harris, Owner of Coach Mo’s Elite Fitness, and Shanna Ferrigno, Owner of Ferrigno Fit and Member of The Incredible Ferrigno’s, just to name a few.
Hero Fit is a three-month make-over program pairing each family enrolled with local community health experts. Some of the things enrolled families learn are:
• The importance of eating a variety of seasonal foods
• Fundamentals of a healthy balanced diet
• Culinary Skills
• Organic Gardening
• How to transform the existing family culture, not replace it
• How and where to shop for healthy foods on a budget
• How to interpret food labels
• How to simply and inexpensively incorporate exercise into their daily lives.
One of the greatest advantages of this program is that the families are taught in their own homes. Community experts like Doctors, Personal Trainers, Dietitians, and Chefs will come to the family’s home to teach them how to work with the tools and resources available at the home and in their neighborhood.
Our partners believe that a healthy life should be available to everyone. Therefore, Hero Fit is accepting applications from underprivileged families who are motivated to change their lives. To apply for enrollment into the program or to become a Community Expert please send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WholesomeGenMAG is a new community that promotes a holistic, eco-friendly and sustainable approach to life. We’re passionate about all things related to creating healthy communities – whether it’s the latest in educational science, the newest eco-fashion product, or an update on organic foods.
Regardless of your interests, WholesomeGenMAG strives to provide you with up-to-date news, great green tips, or healthy recipes for dinner.
The latest in eco-news and know-how is only half of our publication – we also are constantly building our online resource community, providing you with sustainable selections of the best eco-products, many of which are reviewed, so you can read our articles to know exactly what you’re getting.
I recently came across an article in the “L Style/G Style” Austin Magazine Re: Dodging Diabetes and thought I’ve post some great guidelines to prevent and treating type 2 diabetes – see the full article at www.lstylegstyle.com
- Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet including plenty of raw fruits, vegetables and vegetables juices. This reduces the need for insulin, reduces blood-sugar surges and lowers the level of fats in the blood.
- Avoid or minimize high-glycemic foods such as white rice, white flour products, pasta, starchy vegetables and many processed foods. These are quickly converted into blood sugar during digestion, causing insulin levels to shoot up.