Learning can be meditative

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As mentioned in the last blog post, we have been learning about what an eco-system is and studying the eco-systems within each garden bed here at Taking The Reins this Fall. Each student is assigned a garden bed to explore and within that bed, I’ve challenged the students to each choose one plant to explore on a deeper level. They had to use at least 4 senses in most cases to thoroughly experience the plant as it lives in it’s eco-system of the garden bed. How does this plant interact with temperature, insects, other plants nearby, the wind, the birds in the area, the water, etc.  They got to draw their plant (nature journaling), which is a known meditational activity. Meditational activities are important because they support a healthy nervous system. They were also asked to accompany their drawing with facts about their plants. I brought in some research on each chosen plant for the students to go through. They finished up this session by doing a short presentation for the class about what they learned about their plant of choice. We displayed their beautiful artworks in the kitchen next to the garden. I was so delighted to see the girls explain what they learned to one another and to recall facts about other plants that they learned from the presentations done by their classmates. They are leaving this session with a better understanding of not only how to care for certain plants, but also with knowledge to pass onto others which ultimately builds self-esteem. 

LaToya Granados

LaToya has worked with children in education for many years. The last 5 years in particular she taught yoga and nutritional cooking classes to students in schools and group homes, as well as private family sessions. Her love for holistic living naturally took her into the world of gardening. She loves teaching for Enrich LA because she gets to enrich the lives of students from many different backgrounds. She is passionate about taking care of the earth and self and teaching others to do the same. This has made teaching gardening an excellent fit for her.

Cilantro, Sage, Rosemary & Lavender at TAS

At this point in the late winter, we had more herbs and flowers than anything else.  So it was a good time for a lesson about aromatherapy and other uses for these kinds of plants.  The kids had to find three herbs or “smelly” plants by gently rubbing the leaves and finding plants with stronger…
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Welcoming Third Graders at Toluca Lake

Our first week tends to be an introductory week, and although I like it because the prep work can be minimal, I decided to do a quick introduction and move right into soil – and get down to business. The kids really exceeding my expectations of what to expect of 3rd graders and the teachers…
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Welcome Tulsa Gardeners!

Welcome Tulsa gardeners!! I had the honor of teaching Tulsa Elementary’s FIRST garden classes to some wonderful 5th graders! Over winter break, I had come to the garden to plant some seedlings so that our new gardeners had some plants to explore when they got back. This included kale, broccoli, spinach, chard, and carrot seedlings.…
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Multnomah Elementary goes on a Scavenger Hunt

This week at Multnomah Elementary the 4th graders went on a scavenger hunt in the garden looking for native plants! Each native plant in the garden was given an information sheet and a reason as to why we plant it in the garden. Do they attract butterflies? Are they water wise? Students were given three…
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West Vernon Celebrates a Winter Harvest!

This week at West Vernon Elementary, we wrapped up our winter rotation. The students harvested what was ready from the garden which included broccoli, collard greens, cauliflower, purple beans, snap peas, chard, carrots and kale! We made some vegetarian tacos, using collard greens as the “tortilla” and each student was able to help make and…
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We Spy Strawberries at El Sereno Elementary

The students LOVE planting seeds and eating from our garden! For the “Parts of a Plant” lesson, we ate sunflower seeds, carrots for the root, celery for the stem, mint for the leaves, broccoli for the flower, and grapes for the fruit. It is fun to see the students trying new foods and discovering that…
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The Garden Loves the Rain at Atwater Elementary

This is one of my favorite lessons to teach! The kindergartners loving eating every part of a plant — peas for the seeds, radishes for the roots, celery for the stem, mint for the leaves, broccoli for the flower, and apples for the fruit. After the students gobble up their food, they color in each…
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Mapping and Design, 6 grade Project Based Learning

Sixth graders have been working on putting their imprint on the future ‘Nature Garden’ site. As part of an 8 week project based learning the class was divided into four groups of 6. Each group began with first simply walking the sight and familiarizing themselves with how it sits and relates to all other buildings…
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Why garden?

It’s the 5th Grade’s turn in the garden at Hamlin Charter Academy. After a discussion of why we plant gardens (growing healthy food, saving money, enjoying beautiful flowers, exercising, soaking up sunshine and the peaceful setting), we explored the garden a bit to see what’s growing.  I then assigned each student a garden bed to…
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Hummingbirds feasting @ oregano flower

By David Ames | March 22, 2019

2nd rotation of the year started at Angeles Mesa Elementary. K, 1st and 3rd graders have been interacting with the garden and enjoying Unit 1. 3rd graders are so intrigued and curious about bugs, they liked the Friends & Foes lesson a lot! We recently harvested arugula, more radishes, chard; and have planted sweet snow…

Freshening Angeles Mesa Elementary

By David Ames | January 31, 2019

We have been super excited and entertained during our first Unit at Angeles Mesa. Kids from Pre-K, K and 5th grade have enjoyed learning and interacting with plants and garden. EnrichLA resumed activities at Angeles Mesa in the middle of November, bumping into a few days-off due to Thanksgiving, Winter Break, and then the strike,…

Getting organized at Taking the Reins

By Marina Frugone | November 21, 2018

“How do we know when to harvest?”  aaaah…. a hunch? a feel? it smells right? fruit’s the right size? Why don’t we make a harvest calendar! Pulling out the trusty UC Master Gardener Handbook and looking up the approximate harvest time for each of our plants. The girls are attentive!    Also, though it is…

A world beneath our feet… ALC students dig it up

By Marina Frugone | November 21, 2018

“Eeeeeewwwwwwwwww!” said ALC student. “What did I do?” said squirmy worm exposed to the sunlight. “Worms are amazing. Here, grab one and I’ll tell you about what they do” said Garden Ranger. “Their poop is really good for the plants and they create air pockets for roots. Worms are legit.” said other ALC student. ”…

Sprouts for the Sprouts at Mid-City’s Prescott

By Marina Frugone | November 20, 2018

The 1st and 2nd graders of Mid-City’s Prescott School of Enriched Sciences (the sprouts, the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are the seedlings…) watched these radish babies grow from seed to seedling and last week we discovered why root vegetables sometimes grow hugging each other…like these carrots… Once roots start to grow and grow under…

Stewardship at Taking the Reins

By Marina Frugone | November 20, 2018

Every Sunday I teach at Taking the Reins, a non-profit dedicated to building their four core concepts: responsibility, confidence, teamwork and leadership to teen girls in LA. Last Sunday, our main lesson was on garden troubleshooting and land stewardship where we made a list of things to do when you walk into the garden: watch…

Growing in the City…

By Marina Frugone | November 5, 2018

Between Westlake (McArthur Park) and Downtown LA you’ll find Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, a high school made up of several ‘sub’ schools. One of them, the Academic Leadership Community or simply ALC. The after school garden group meets every Tuesday from 1:30-3PM in a small but oh so mighty garden overlooking downtown. From day one,…

Multnomah Elementary goes on a Scavenger Hunt

By Olivia McCallum | March 8, 2019

This week at Multnomah Elementary the 4th graders went on a scavenger hunt in the garden looking for native plants! Each native plant in the garden was given an information sheet and a reason as to why we plant it in the garden. Do they attract butterflies? Are they water wise? Students were given three…

West Vernon Celebrates a Winter Harvest!

By Olivia McCallum | March 8, 2019

This week at West Vernon Elementary, we wrapped up our winter rotation. The students harvested what was ready from the garden which included broccoli, collard greens, cauliflower, purple beans, snap peas, chard, carrots and kale! We made some vegetarian tacos, using collard greens as the “tortilla” and each student was able to help make and…

Welcome Tulsa Gardeners!

By Catherine Siefert | March 11, 2019

Welcome Tulsa gardeners!! I had the honor of teaching Tulsa Elementary’s FIRST garden classes to some wonderful 5th graders! Over winter break, I had come to the garden to plant some seedlings so that our new gardeners had some plants to explore when they got back. This included kale, broccoli, spinach, chard, and carrot seedlings.…