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Well, I survived Day 1 and the most vigorous part: the best 7.5 mile run ever! Thank you mother nature for such gorgeous weather that allowed for a lightning fast(ish) and considerably less sweaty run. Keep it up!

April, the director and chef at Edible Schoolyard (ESY) Nola, told us all about the wonderful program many of the charter schools in New Orleans have adopted. In case you were wondering, charter schools are basically allowed to do whatever they want and still receive excellent funding. Since they push academics so much, the ESY has really stepped up its curriculum to make sure students are incorporating healthy lifestyles and wellness into all subjects.
For example, the Arthur Ashe Charter School just opened this year with an amazing new campus in Gentilly, including a teaching kitchen and gardening room. Sadly, the budgets and grants did not support the salary for a physical education teacher and coach. So through a program called Playworks, the school now has a PE teacher and the students have organized recess. Liz (the intern I will be rotating with) and I were surprised to find out that these schools hold academic hours from 8am-4:45pm. Can you imagine? The best part: every child is served a hot breakfast at the beginning of the day (they don’t even have to arrive early for this) and the upper grades go for a community tour around the campus (1/2 mile) before ANY subjects are taught. I was floored when April told us this. What an excellent idea! The school will also be the future home of a 1 acre garden. This is an ESY dream come true. The goal is for the children to understand the concept of where the food they are eating comes from. They attend gardening and cooking classes as well as use these tools in every other subject learned. Arthur Ashe is a fabulous school and the children are just precious and so eager to learn. Oh and they called the children “scholars” which I think is awesome!

Today, in the ABCs food class, the kindergarten class learned about the letters A and B. We talked about different foods that start with these letters and sampled apples, apricots and blueberries. The apricots were not a favorite even though we tried to convince them it was “mother natures gummy bear.” They described the taste, texture, temperature, and smell of these foods. We gave “snaps” for the scholars who answered a question correctly or enjoyed the tastings. Those who did not like the food were polite and told us “I tried my apricot, but I did not care for it.” The class was great and I had to hold back a few laughs!

April also took us to a few other charter schools to see the teaching kitchen and gardens. Joseph S. Clark, John Divert and Samuel Green topped the list. These schools are a blank canvas for what ESY has to offer. And with children/scholars who are knowledge sponges, it is the perfect opportunity to incorporate such great habits into a routine.

The rest of the week includes Liz and I working with Miguel. I just need to stop for a moment and inform you of what happened. Over the weekend, Miguel came to the potluck with another intern, Alyssa. He is from Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island, which allows students to participate in an internship for a few months. We got to know him a little at the party since he had just moved down about 3 days earlier. Fast forward to this morning: he shows up at our rotation. Small world, right? So we will be collaborating with Miguel on curriculum and newsletters from ESY. Anyway, it’s pretty relaxed. Do the work at home and just check in at Ashe charter at 11am every day. Easy enough!

Well I better get working on some flyers for the cafeteria tables. Need to brainstorm some topics that are scholar-friendly! I will leave you with this picture from this morning. Moms and their “first day of school pics”….

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Until next time! Eat Smart and Move More.

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