HENDRY COUNTY — The Hendry County Health Department in coordination with the SNAP-Ed Program has been using a curriculum called “Grow It, Try It, Like It” with children at the Children’s Garden of LaBelle. This learning center serves an ethnically diverse range of children.
Maria Herrera, MPH, CPRP, OPS human services program specialist, SNAP-Ed at the health department facilitates the “Grow It, Try It, Like It” presentation once a month.
A typical lesson includes light stretching to help the children focus and settle in before beginning the lesson. It then provides a reading activity where they hear and talk about a fruit or vegetable. Often the reading activity is conducted in both English and Spanish since the children enjoy learning languages and many are bilingual (Spanish speaking).
A craft activity is also included that highlights the fruit or vegetable of that lesson.
The children have responded well to activities that engage their gross motor skills (such as cutting and pasting), critical thinking (matching and counting), and creativity (choosing colors and who they will gift their finished craft to).
The presentation concludes with a tasting activity where they learn to eat a fruit or vegetable. Children enjoy this portion of the lesson because they are curious to try something new.
Herrera began the presentations at the Children’s Garden of LaBelle in November 2020. The program was able to obtain seed and basic gardening supplies in April 2021. The children were given the opportunity to pick the seed they wanted to plant, were given trowels, and began gardening at their site with tomato, tomatillo, green bean, and jalapeño.
The children were given a brief lesson on each vegetable (how they grow, and how to eat them) as well as basic gardening instructions for planting the seed.
The goal is to encourage children to grow an appreciation for gardening and consumption of fruits and vegetables.
If any organization is interested in this program, you may contact Andrea S. May, Director of Community Health Promotions at 863-302-6017 or 863-843-0885. The program can serve early childhood education centers, school aged youth, and adults!
The Department of Health works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.
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