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Opinion: Columbus students sow seeds for a hands on approach

Columbus Magnet School first graders visit the Norwalk Board of Education, Tuesday in City Hall, as shown in the Norwalk Public Schools YouTube video.

First graders at Columbus Magnet School are getting their hands dirty while learning about science and community through a partnership with Fodor Farm in Norwalk. To learn the parts of a plant and bring science curriculum to life, last year’s first grade students maintained a garden plot on the farm. The project also aligned with the themes of the annual Columbus first grade market, where students sell fruits and veggies, and learn civics lessons on creating bonds with the community.

The connection to Fodor Farm has continued to grow, as Columbus partnered with the Silvermine Arts Center. Students learned techniques and painted “Garden People” statues under the tutelage of a Silvermine Arts Center artist and educator. Several times during the year students explored color, tint, blending, and brush strokes among other things, to create the beautiful statues on display at Fodor Farm. They also wrote poems about people, animals and nature to hang from garden statues.

Last year, Columbus was approached by the Norwalk Tree Alliance to be part of a pilot “Tree School.” Visits to Fodor Farm in the Fall, Winter and Spring provided students with valuable and fun lessons about trees that aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. Students had the opportunity to plant saplings, measure trees, compare mature trees with their offspring, note shadows in each season, learn about mushrooms, meet an expert on bees and cross pollination, and more. This coming year, Brookside School will also be participating in Tree School. Plans for both schools include creating relationships with professionals from the community. On the first field visit next week, students will meet with a landscape architect.

The Norwalk Board of Education would like to thank the Norwalk Tree Alliance, Fodor Farm, Friends of Fodor Farm, The Care of Trees, Sound Mushrooms, Silvermine Arts Center, and Norwalk Recreation and Parks for a collaborative effort to bring learning alive for our students.

We would like to recognize the Columbus students who participated in the program, many who are here this evening. We would also like to thank Columbus Principal Medard Thomas and the Columbus staff for working toward this integrated project-oriented learning opportunity.

Thank you to the Columbus first grade team:

  • Jennifer Imhoff
  • Yin Kahler
  • Kelly Braddock
  • Nancy Stewart

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