Students from Doherty Elementary School in West Bloomfield got a taste of kale chips and learned about nutrition and sustainable living at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital the week of May 6.
Principal Molly Funk said the hospital contacted the school about participating in the new program, in which every class, kindergarten through 5th grade, participated during their regular gym time. She said the off-site lessons blended with what students were learning in the classroom.
"All of our science curriculum could easily be tied in," she said. For instance, second graders working on a unit on insects learned that ladybugs eat harmful bugs, helping growers avoid using pesticides.
Over three days, more than 460 children spent time in the Demonstration Kitchen, learning about nutrition facts and how to read the labels on food in stores. They discovered the recommended daily amount of salt and sugar that is age-appropriate for them, and how many processed products contain far more.
In the certified organic greenhouse, they learned about sustainable growth, renewable resources.
Funk said the hands-on program will also serve students well as they face Next Generation Science Standards that are part of the Common Core curriculum that will be implemented next year. Students will have to explain in scientific understanding the world around them, she said.
Doherty teachers have said they'd like to participate in the program again next year, and parents report on Facebook that their children are asking for more vegetables and fruits as snacks.
"They're making connections to their own world, and that's exciting," Funk said.