Parents & Teachers Voice Support for FoodPrints at DC Council Hearing
On March 1, the DC Council Committee of the Whole held a Performance Oversight Hearing on Education Agencies. At the hearing, three FoodPrints advocates voiced their support for the program, detailing their first-hand accounts of how joyful food and garden education positively impacts their children and students. Excerpts from each testimony are below and have been shortened for clarity and length.
“It was a relief to know my child was in caring and capable hands.”
First, I want to highlight the value of high quality enrichment programming, from my unique perspective as the parent of a child with special needs. During the summer program, I came to see that the FoodPrints teachers bring experience working with both neurotypical and neurodiverse students – they are skilled at reaching kids with all abilities. Even though his summer FoodPrints teachers did not have access to his IEP, they were in tune with my son’s challenges and able to accommodate.
For example, Ms. Davette approached me after class one day and said she noticed he was struggling with the daily writing assignments. When I explained that he has high-functioning Autism, ADHD, and Dysgraphia, she had suspected this may be the case and then described the ways she was changing her approach to help him in his writing. Another day, Ms. Claire saw that he was over-stimulated and gave him a safe, quiet space to decompress. It was a relief to know my child was in caring and capable hands.
“I’ve witnessed how the program helps to positively frame children’s relationship to food.”
Our community is culturally and economically diverse. Yet, through the universal language of food, in the FoodPrints classroom our students engage through lessons, ingredients, dishes, and experiences.
As a parent of two children that love FoodPrints, I have seen children grow to love gardening, chopping veggies, making recipes, and eating tasty, and healthy food – both in the FoodPrints kitchen, and at home.
As staff person, and as a mom, I’ve witness how the program helps to positively frame children’s relationship to food, and helps shape our school’s capacity to educate students about nutrition.
“The Food Prints program is one of the very best academic approaches that integrates all subjects.”
When going to a Food Prints class, students participate in a school-based “field trip” that utilizes our school garden. Students participate in outdoor lessons within the school garden. They harvest fresh produce, and then continue lessons indoors with cooking recipes that include the vegetables harvested from their school garden. While serving the students and families at John Burroughs ES, I have always found that the best learning takes place when students find joy in learning while also making connections to their own lives.
The Food Prints program is one of the very best academic approaches to developing learners that embrace standards-based lesson content that integrates all subjects, while utilizing hands-on school garden activities. All FoodPrints lessons utilize an integrated approach and are well planned to align with grade level content and unit themes. Throughout the lesson, students are highly engaged in collaborative learning and rigorous content that also incorporates valuable social-emotional skills that encourage an understanding of their impact on our world.