During the pandemic, we have successfully adapted our food and garden education with flexible virtual formats to engage students and their families and provide immersive virtual programming for at-risk students.
Immersive Summer Learning for Students in Wards 7 & 8
Our team designed an innovative virtual summer program that provided daily virtual instruction over 7 weeks for 30 students from Wards 7 and 8. Classes in garden science, nutrition, cooking were bolstered by home delivery of food and supplies in collaboration with the FRESHFARM Food Hub. Book clubs and author visits were highlights for students, and made possible by partnerships with Readers to Eaters and An Open Book Foundation. Social emotional learning was woven throughout the classes to build students’ self-efficacy, independence and self-care skills, which is so important at a time when in-person social connections are limited.
Evaluation results show that students were highly engaged in learning and peer connections, and, at home, students cooked meals with their families, grew plants, and read new books to their parents and siblings.
FoodPrints Anywhere extends our in-school food, nutrition, and garden curriculum into homes with garden, cooking, math & science, art, and wellness activities, videos, and guides – that require minimal materials and screen time with a theme of “use what you have.”
Virtual FoodPrints Instruction at Partner Schools
Virtual instruction is aligned with our curriculum and FoodPrints Anywhere but customized for school communities. During spring 2020, nearly 100 live classes and 50 pre-recorded classes taught students and families how to cook a range of recipes using pantry staples and how to grow and care for plants at home.
Evaluation results of our spring 2020 virtual learning showed:
- FoodPrints teachers designed flexible, adaptable classes that reached students and their families in a variety of ways and were valued by families and their school communities.
- Distance learning fostered a sense of pride, confidence, and self-efficacy in students.
- Parent engagement translated into parents enjoying cooking activities with their children and gaining a new perspective on their children’s skills and capacities, in some cases.
Garden Production for Families in Need
When schools closed, FoodPrints team pivoted to higher-volume garden production at a select partner schools. In spring 2020, our gardens produced more than 150 bags of greens, herbs and other veggies to supplement produce distribution for families in need at Kimball Elementary. Included in the bags of produce were FoodPrints recipes and learning activities.
Live Online Events
For 7 weeks this summer, members of our staff and guests hosted live Instagram videos daily in our Summer Camp at Home series. Videos helped students and families cook delicious and nutritious food, read food- and environment-themed books, learn about wellness topics, and engage in garden and science projects. We shared widely our enthusiasm for learning about the natural world, cooking as a family, and food literacy. Videos are archived on @foodprintsdc.
Our partnership with FoodPrints has been phenomenal. Ms. Tailor has continuously kept students and parents engaged with virtual learning, and this program means so much to our community.Levar Jenkins, Principal, Burroughs Elementary