Growing ELL minds through gardening

Posted on Feb 4, 2018 in News | 81 comments

Gardening not only produces delicious fruits and vegetables, but it can also yield some educational lessons for English language learners, according to two speakers at the recent Winter Conference at the University of West Florida International Center.

Milagros Sessions, left, and Leslie Cuyuch give their presentation.

Milagros Sessions and Leslie Cuyuch talked about their efforts with an ESOL service learning project at the J.H. Workman I.B. Middle School ESOL classes. The project included an organic garden, in-class aquaponics system, outdoor hydroponics system, outdoor classroom area and a special butterfly garden.

Sessions and Cuyuch showed slides and discussed how the ELLs learned about gardening and farming.

To create this project, the teachers were awarded a series of grants from various establishments and used the funds to purchase the seeds, organic soil amendments, gardening tools, a shed to house the tools, gloves for each student, 10 fruit trees, and a greenhouse.

The students share their bounty at harvest time as they donate some produce to Manna Food Bank and create an international cuisine luncheon to share with the community.

Sessions spoke of how the experience truly empowers the students and prove “they have the ability to grow something and share with other people.”

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