Fremont Elementary students plant seeds for fall harvest
Students at Fremont Elementary School plant seeds in the inner courtyard of the school. The plan is for the plants to be harvested in the fall. First graders Kirk Kolano, Dalton Wren and Tyler Werner pat down the soil after planting their seed. | Rob Dic
Updated: July 15, 2012 6:10AM
Students at Fremont Elementary School planted pumpkin seeds and other vegetable seeds at the end of the school year as part of a program to teach students about healthy eating and living.
Kindergarten-, first-grade and second-grade students at Fremont planted vegetable seeds in the community gardens in the courtyard area of the school and in school-owned farm property just south of the school.
Fremont physical education teacher Kathy Reilly said the idea for the program came out of the district’s health and wellness committee and this is the third year the district has been doing it.
“We’re just trying to promote healthy living and healthy eating and this is a way to help drive that message home to the kids,” she said.
Children planted a wide range of vegetable seeds, including pumpkin, squash, beans, beets, peppers, corn, sugar snap peas, tomatoes and other vegetables.
Chance to taste
In the fall, the kids will harvest the vegetables and then will get a chance to taste the vegetables they planted. Quest Food Service, which provides lunch service at Fremont schools, donates seeds for the planting and uses some of the peppers and other vegetables for cooking in the cafeteria after they’re harvested in the fall.
“I try to encourage the kids to try something different,” she said. “I’m proud of the fact that I have kids eating beets. It just gives them a chance to try some things they don’t normally eat and gets them hooked on good stuff.”
Lori Northrup, a multi-grade first- and second-grade teacher at Fremont Elementary School, said planting the vegetables is a great way to teach children respect for the environment and gives them a chance to eat some of the natural vegetables they plant.
“I think it’s an amazing, unique experience that I don’t think many children get to a chance to experience,” she said.
Tessa Richards, 8, a second grader from Hawthorn Woods, said she liked digging into the soil and planting seeds in the ground. “I learned how to plant a pumpkin seed,” she said.
Anthonee Hixson, 8, a second grader from Round Lake, said he enjoyed planting the seeds and stepping on the dirt to make sure the seeds were firmly planted in the ground.
“I got to eat the pumpkin seeds in the fall and carve the pumpkins,” he said. “I liked doing that.”