Intergenerational Harvest focuses on strawberries

PHOTO PROVIDED
STEP Clinton County Community Center senior Barbara Hendricks and an Early Learning child prepare harvested strawberries.

PHOTO PROVIDED STEP Clinton County Community Center senior Barbara Hendricks and an Early Learning child prepare harvested strawberries.

As children, we often heard our parents repeat the phrase “Eat your vegetables!” Whether a potato or leafy green, they were constantly served with a meal. However, fresh fruits are just as important for us as fresh vegetables. While our bodies do need slightly more vegetables in our daily diets, we also need fruit. STEP Early Head Start teachers have taken the initiative to integrate a program into their curriculum that can be carried into the homes of the children and families they serve. STEP’s “Farm to Head Start: Harvest of the Month” is a program designed to focus on a different type of produce each month, with the hope that introducing it to children in a fun and creative way will help them to keep it in their diets.

The month of June focuses on the strawberry. A few years ago, the senior group at the Clinton County Community Center (CCCC) planted a patch of strawberry plants at the children’s playground area. Each spring and early summer, the children watch the plants bud and develop little green balls that turn into beautiful and sweet berries.

The plants allow the children to engage in scientific discovery by observing the change in growth over time. The children also learn about where foods come from. The children’s favorite lesson is hands-on cooking experiments. From tasting the berries to completing a recipe with them and trying the new creation, most children will eagerly attend to the entire process.

To promote this program, teachers send home handouts and recipes for families to try. Most are a simple way to dress some of the produce up. Staff also facilitates classroom cooking experiments and a family share area where families can post successful recipes.

STEP Early Head Start is part of the Early Learning Pathway to Success. For more information on STEP’s Early Learning Pathway, call 570-326-0587, or visit http://www.stepcorp.org/Child–Development, where you can also find an eligibility form.

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