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Brainstorming the Topic of Interest

As many of you already know, Gremi’s Garden is not just a title, but an idea that I can make a contribution to the wellness and development of early childhood through gardening. In perusing through the recommended website in our book the National Library of Medicine (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/pubmed_tutorial/ m1001.html), there was a particular element of surprise in discovering that there is a large herb garden in front of the building that pays tribute to the healing properties of nature and its application to medicine throughout history. Let us not forget that in a land not so distant, apothecary, or the use of plants for medicinal purposes, was the only means of treatment for many.  Moreover, the continued use of apothecary in today’s societies, are referred to as herbal, holistic, and natural approach medicine.  New age books like Forks over Knives promote healthy living through vegan diets, with the notion that all we need to be healthy is available from the earth.

I cannot claim to be vegan or even vegetarian, as many of my meals include a portion of animal; as in cheese, yogurt, fish, eggs, turkey and chicken, and of course the occasional hamburger, but I do prefer plant sources over bread and pasta and steer clear of processed foods. I have to admit that I do feel a difference when my intake is free of meat products, though no significant difference has been noted with the inclusion/exclusion of eggs, or dairy products.  Getting back on track with the simulations for this course, I have chosen the following subtopic and reasonable expectancy of nutritional knowledge as a variable for the consumption of fresh home grown fruits and vegetables.

  • Malnutrition: The effects of malnutrition [independent variable] on psychological and physical development  [dependent variable] in early childhood.   
  • Understanding how nutrition effects the physiological and psychological development lending to conscious dietary consumption.  

There is a plethora of information surrounding this very topic, and many different studies that also entertain the idea that knowledge increases the likelihood of healthy dietary options. To further complicate the issue of malnutrition, access and affordability is of great importance in some communities. I certainly hope that I can narrow my inquiry even further, for I fear that I will certainly be swallowed up by the abundance of information I am sure to uncover on the matter.  

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Consequences of Knowledge

In reading and getting more familiar with the international early childhood field the sense of community becomes more apparent. As a consequence I have become far more knowledgeable about issues and trends in other parts of the world, and what different organizations are doing to tackle the challenges in the different communities.  To piggyback on this knowledge, another consequence relates to gained knowledge of the different communities as well as some of the cultural aspects, and how the helping organizations organize resources and services without encroaching on the beliefs of the citizens they serve. This particular consequence is important to note, as some of our own services are not always careful to respect dignity and diversity.  A third consequence of knowledge is that I have a better understanding of what it is to be a child experiencing and enduring long term struggles, particularly in areas of war, and underdeveloped nations. Having read about the achievements in the different communities, I came away with an understanding that the blanket of poverty does not look the same in all areas.

In order to create a strong and supportive community in early childhood, I challenge all who care about the wellness of children to keep an open line of communication.  Knowledge is power.  It is not a cliché, but a truth that can aid in creating a roadway for the wellness and development of our most vulnerable citizens. With well oriented direction and a sturdy plan, every single step with count in reaching the global goals for securing productive life.

To my peers and colleagues, I thank you for helping, and I am grateful to be learning with such caring professionals.  

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Professional Goals , hopes and dreams

I have considered myself as being quite fortunate, even though life has presented many challenges.  In becoming a grandparent, I knew that I needed to protect them, nurture, care for, and teach them, but I was not sure how.  To my surprise, I didn’t need to know, it was them who taught me what I needed to do.  In the garden, many stories were told, secrets were shared, safety was created, and love blossomed.  In the garden, life looked so different, untouched by disparities, socioeconomic barriers, racial boundaries, or gaps in equity; the garden always gave generously to those who tended it, as they would tend to themselves.  This magical and mystical place where everyone was welcome became the focus of my journey.  There is power in gardening, and engaging it provides a glimmer of hope that grows alongside the seeds we sow.

It is my desire to share this experience with all children.  The garden is the place that can elevate families from hunger, provide nutritious alternative, and is sustainable when tended to with care.  Gardens do not need to be grand or even outdoors. Community gardens have been popping up everywhere with a surprising outpouring of volunteers, donations, and instructions. That is my hope for my community. With the influx of people relocating from natural disaster areas into our nearby communities; and the curve ball from the novel corona virus, many of our communities have endured a very serious shift in economic wellness.  The neighboring community of South Side Bethlehem is no exception. Donagan Elementary school is entrusted with the care and education of 420 students, having 95% of its population eligible for free lunch. Donovan is not just an elementary school it is a community center, complete with family development specialists, community school coordinators, health clinic, and washers and dryers to facilitate laundering for families that cannot afford the Laundromat. Donagan prepares backpacks of food for the children to take home on Fridays so that they have food for the weekend. Donagan elementary provides the exact curriculum as all other schools in the district, yet they serve a population where English is a second language. (Source: The Morning Call, November 1, 2019).  Passion drives the educators here at Donagan, quality education is what they provide, and love is what makes it all come together.

This school could greatly benefit from having a garden. The educational opportunity to teach young children and their families how to grow vegetables, fruits, herb and spices would lend to promote stewardship and leadership.  Engaging the students in food preservation and canning will provide the families an opportunity to make the most of the foods they have.  Perhaps a full range garden may not be feasible given the space needed to serve 420 students and their families, but if every classroom could have window boxes, then that would be a start, after all it is with a single seed that process takes hold.  A garden can give back some of the green space that has been slowly disappearing, a space to grow, socialize and contribute to. In a world filled with fear and uncertainty, it would be a wonderful thing to give children a project they can be proud of, and a skill that can be maintained by the whole family, the whole community.

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Sharing Resources

Thinking back on my lifelong goals, and the early childhood studies, I was prompted to stop for a moment to see if my goals and purpose for my blog were in sync. In pondering the effectiveness of Gremi’s Garden Blog, I wondered if this was applicable to the current course of study.  The answer was a resounding yes. In my research of the world organizations advocating and providing resources for children, families and communities to improve the state of nutrition, have included back yard gardens and community gardens that help provide food as well as funding, through the sale of fresh farmed foods (Mason, 2016). 

            In the UNICEF report, education about nutrition and its effects on early childhood is also well established, partnering with local advocates and community members (Mason, 2016).  Malnutrition and food insecurities are not isolated incidents that occur only in underdeveloped or impoverished nations. It is a grim consequence of the disparities and barriers in access, affordability, and availability.  The Center for American Progress describes areas where malnutrition is high, as “food deserts”, having only corner markets in which nutritious foods are not readily available (Blackwell, 2016).  Blackwell reports, “Over the past century, the nation’s food system radically transformed from one sustained by family farms to an industrialized system dependent on toxic agricultural practices, farm consolidation, food processing operations, and distribution warehouses. Such a system often further elongates the distance between food sources and consumers”.

            Bringing the issue into living color, our capital, Washington D.C. had the highest rate of food insecurities of the reporting nation, having 1 in 3 children lacking consistent access to healthy food sources. Many initiatives have taken root as studies have driven the empirical data of nutrition and the balance it can provide in healthy, safe and equitable development.  Gardening Kids .Org, is one of these organizations that serve as an educational forum on gardening, stewardship, cooperation, that present an immediate response to the widening gaps of adequate nutrition for our children and the community at large. Gardening kids provide free information to those seeking to implement community gardens in low income areas, as well as gardens in schools. 

            My contribution to the early childhood field has not been swayed by the many barriers to healthy development.  Moreover, my determination for providing this simple assistance to my community is adequately increased.  It all starts with a single seed, a single hello, and a dedicated hand.  Although my plight may not be viewed initially as a social movement towards equity that is exactly what gardening has done for many communities.  Equity, access and availability all render barriers that can be transformed when food insecurities and malnutrition are removed from the equation.

Let It Grow

The long-lasting benefits of a school garden — supporting health and wellness, encouraging students to choose nutritious foods

https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/18/07/let-it-grow

Community gardens provide food, income for families

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Niger/2005/Page
UNICEF-supported community gardens in Niger provide children with food; excess yields are sold to purchase medicines, school supplies and other staples.

By Kent Page

AGADEZ, Niger, 14 September 2005 – Niger is struggling to cope with a nutrition crisis. But in the village of Alikinkin, community gardens are an oasis of beauty and a source of food, helping children avoid the worst effects of the crisis.

In Alikinkin’s gardens, donkeys, goats and birds flourish among the grasses, bushes, palm and date trees. Neatly-planted rows of crops are irrigated with fresh water pumped from wells – a stark contrast to the situation in other parts of the country.

UNICEF’s office in Agadez, a town near Alikinkin, is supporting 50 community garden projects by helping construct water wells, providing gardening seeds, fertilizer, insecticide, fencing and tools.

The goal is to ensure that village children have access to nutritious foods. The gardens produce tomatoes, onions, carrots, peas, beans, cabbage, potatoes and wheat. (https://www.unicef.org/nutrition/niger_28266.html)

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Kidsgardening.org aids in my professional endeavor to use gardening as part of the developmental process for children and families.  Gardening provides hands on learning for children, with the added value of being able to teach children and families to grow many fruits and vegetables where ever they live. 

The Mission:

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, National Head Start Association and KidsGardening have joined together to combat some of the most pressing challenges facing today’s youngest generation, improving access to healthy food and increasing time spent outdoors connected to nature. The three-year partnership will work to bring the powerful, life-enhancing benefits of gardens to one million at-risk Head Start children and families across the country each year through the development of edible gardens and hands-on garden education. Gardens are an amazing resource in early childhood education classrooms. They offer hands-on learning experiences and provide the chance for inquiry-based exploration while also inspiring children’s natural curiosity and wonder. Garden activities can readily be integrated into the curriculum and designed to support the cognitive, physical, social and development of young children. Additionally, they provide ample opportunities to engage families and community members. Some noted benefits of garden-based education programs include:

  • Build an understanding of and respect for nature and the environment
  • Motivate kids to eat and love fruits and vegetables
  • Provide opportunities for hands-on learning, inquiry, observation and experimentation
  • Promote physical activity and quality outdoor experiences
  • Teach kids to nurture and care for other living things while developing patience
  • Offer opportunities for positive social interactions and team building experiences with students, families and community members

Source:https://kidsgardening.org/ece-resources-original/

Though this organization works in the United States, organizations such as UNICEF also extend the message of gardening around the world not only to help in sustainability, but in the respite and stress relieving effects of gardening.

UNICEF Syrian Arab Republic/2016/Ourfali

The children initially started their experiment to block the view of a garbage heap. Now, they eagerly tend their garden, a respite from the day’s challenges.

Source: https://www.unicef.org/stories/syrian-children-cultivate-some-happiness-communal-shelter

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Expanding Resources

Save the Children is an organization that was initiated in 1919, when the idea of children rights was not a common theme for the era.  History recalls “the health of young children was abysmal by modern standards, as about 1 in 4 children in 1900 died by age 5. Likewise, two million children between the ages of 10 and 15 worked in factories, on farms, and on urban streets” (Yarrow, 2009). Concurrently, the policy makers for educational were mediated the merits of education as a means for social and moral change, and a process by which to provide basic knowledge and skills.  Save the Children is not a governmental organization, it is a charity designed to help children in need in America and around the world.  Save the children work in the areas of most need, and those in desperate need of support. “Charity watchers, consumer advocates and donors agree: Save the Children ranks among the most trusted nonprofits and is a top charity for children” (Savethechildren.org).

In the U.S. and around the world, Save the Children does whatever it takes — every day and in times of crisis — to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. When crisis strikes and children are most vulnerable, we are always among the first to respond and the last to leave. We ensure children’s unique needs are met and their voices are heard. We deliver lasting results for millions of children, including those hardest to reach. We do whatever it takes for children — transforming their lives and the future we share — because we believe every child deserves a future. 

Source:  https://www.savethechildren.org/us/what-we-do 

As advocates for children, Save the Children informs and challenges policy makers to provide policies that promote wellness for the world’s most vulnerable children and families. 

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Advocating for what Matters

Nutrition is at the forefront in the effort to provide children an opportunity for healthy growth and development.  Poverty underlines areas where children and families are in grave need of advocacy.  UNICEF (2013) published a report in which supportive strategies target the 1,000 days from conception to two years of age.  The interventions support, and practices help to educate and establish community involvement in the health, wellness, and development of child, family, and thus the community as a whole.  Through community engaged intervention, education goes a long way for everyone.  More importantly, UNICEF members devote precious efforts to move policy and legislations towards effective and proactive measure that can be applied for the long term wellness of their citizens.  It is important to understand that interventions is the guiding force for change, but policy, governmental support, and community involvement must move together to provide the best possible future.  The following is a highlight of key components and interventions of an infant and young child feeding strategy that promotes wellness from the very beginnings of life.

Legislation

• Marketing of breastmilk substitutes

 • Maternity protection skilled support by the health system •

Curriculum development for IYCF (infant and young child feeding)

• IYCF counseling and other support services

• Capacity development for health providers

 • Institutionalization of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

Community-based counseling and support

 • Established community-based integrated IYCF counseling services

 • Mother support groups

 Communication

• Communication for behavior and social change

 Additional complementary feeding options

• Improving the quality of complementary foods through locally available ingredients

• Increasing agricultural production

 • Provision of nutrition supplements and foods

• Social protection schemes

 IYCF in difficult circumstances

• HIV and infant feeding

 • IYCF in emergencies

As with all things UNICEF, research and data help to establish the focus of need in varying communities. The programs, practices and advocacy efforts move forward towards social change by enlightening and educating policy makers of the benefits of change.

Source: UNICEF (2020). Improving child nutrition: The achievable imperative for global progress. https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Nutrition_Report_final_lo_res_8_April.pdf

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Measuring Intelligence

            As all things American, the use of Intelligent Quotient (IQ) testing during the early part of the 20th century was used to categorize individuals based on their intelligence, or more specifically, on the scores revealed by such testing.  In the advent, IQ scores were used in the military for the purpose of identifying individuals and their particular competences in job placement with in the varied roles at the time.  In later years, the IQ tests were used to leverage the position of the Eugenics movement, which held the idea society and prosperity could only rise for particular “stocks” otherwise known as race.  The use of the IQ test during this period gave rise to the assumption that persons challenged with socio economic status and race, particularly of African descent could not be educated because of some biological trait only found within these populations.  As erroneous and embarrassing as these theories are, they provided a gateway for the inception of court ordered sterilization of persons deemed by society as being developmentally disabled, feebleminded, and incapable of intellect (Bouche & Rivard, 2014).

            Fortunately for us, America has moved away from such practices, some which have been deemed unconstitutional, such as administering an IQ test to imprisoned persons burdened with intellectual disabilities, and of course forced sterilization. Current uses of the IQ tests perform well to identify that may need additional services for learning, but the test itself may not be particularly relevant in identifying domains where learning and healthy development may not occur.  Additionally, the Flynn Effect has evidenced that IQ test scores change over time and through generations, suggesting increased literacy, technological advances for education enable a broader audience to score higher than that of previous eras (Berger, 2016). To further evaluate the efficacy and utility of intelligence testing within the Flynn effect, we need to account for the increased availability of educational resources, knowledge of nutrition and the increase in services that provide for the underserved populations, as well as other environmental services that promote more abstract thinking in problem resolution. 

            When thinking of the child as the product of all of its parts, then we can surely understand that the ability to score well in testing is also a product of the society that rears him.  With these inclusions we are more equipped to understand Sternberg’ (1985, 2011) inscription of three general intelligences; analytic, creative, and practical (Berger, 2016, Chapter 11). Brain scans have the ability to further measure aptitude in providing real time activity in the brain, however; scans only reveal activity at the time of the scan and cannot determine or correlate with IQ test scores. Brain scans identify localized hubs which suggest that the different areas have specific utility for developing intelligence through different experiences.

                In essence, IQ testing or intelligence assessment tools inform us within the boundaries of the questions and reactions to the particular inclusions of the assessment.  They cannot fully generate a prognosis for future intelligence nor can they accurately gauge how experiences are processed within each individual child, emotion, self perception, and time of day notwithstanding. Many of the developed nations use IQ assessment tools in order to collect information about the community’s performance and most importantly for the opportunity to express the needs of particular areas.  The following chart allows us to see where intelligence assessment tools are used, however; it is more specific a representation in respect to the Flynn Effect, as where intelligence based on IQ scores, continues to improve over time and dependent on the time the testing were initiated in the particular region (Nagby, n.d.).  The different dates of initiation also give to the understanding that many countries may have had less availability for technology and literacy.

Flynn – world regions

                                   Source: https://ourworldindata.org/intelligence

        To reiterate, these measures are indicative of available data provided through research and do not measure the entire population, nor does it imply that the same assessment or score values were used.  Additionally, assessments for children are different than for adults, however, each may cover different areas such as aptitude, which does not render an accurate view of the examined (Nagby,n.d.) .  If nothing else, the data that comes out of assessments a sure indicators that the world is moving in the right direction towards making the health of our children a product of the competencies within their societies.

References

Berger, K., S. (2016). The Developing Childhood. (7th Ed). Worth Publisher.

Bouche, T., & Rivard, L. (2014). Genetics Generation:  America’s Hidden History. https://www.nature.com/scitable/forums/genetics-generation/america-s-hidden-history-the-eugenics-movement-123919444/

Nagby, M. (n.d.). Intelligence. https://ourworldindata.org/intelligence

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Nutrition

There is no need for me to lecture anyone or bring up statistics about the effects of malnutrition.  It is a sad, painful and pervasive reality for too many families right here in the land of riches and opportunities. Many organizations and generous contributors do what they can to provide food and monetary donations to help less fortunate individuals and families. However; despite all the efforts, many children and families are malnourished.  Taking an initiative to plant a vegetable garden at a community playground is a wonderful opportunity to inform curious bystanders of what you are doing and invite them to join.  So imagine my excitement when I came across an organization that was doing this very thing at a national level.  I came across KidsGardening.org , an organization that promotes wellness through gardening.  Resources in this site are free to use, and subscribing gains you free activities to try with young children.  Not only is gardening a fun way for children to interact, but it also promotes social skills, patience, positive self esteem, interest in our environment and gives them the power to grow foods for consumption. Rather than bogging you down with my biased opinions, I prefer to let you make your own determination of this program and hope you will explore the contents offered. What I will say is that organizations partnering with kidsgardening.org report an increase in student nutritional attitudes among other important statistics.  Giving children the power to change or even brighten their world view from the garden will have a long lasting effect for positive growth and positive industry.   

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Birthing

My pregnancy experiences were well within the context of western laboring practices of birthing in a medical setting, with competent teams to render aid and monitor wellness.  Though my idea was to have vaginal birth, my first child was birthed through emergency C-section, due to the length of dry labor and its impact on the unborn child.  Further, I must add that my frame was far too small to push the almost 10 pound baby out into the world.  Four years later, the second child provided another opportunity to experience the beautiful natural birthing process, however; complications from medical issues and infections prompted a medical decision for a scheduled C-section.  A year later, yet another opportunity presented itself.  This time, with added care from a multidisciplinary team, I was finally able to experience the complexities and joys from a natural birth.  Yes birthing is painful, but since pain holds no memory, the only experience is the overwhelming feeling of joy and awe to be able to bring a life into the world.

            Three births; three different birthing methods.  The only commonality was the level of attention placed in the different developmental stages of fetal growth. Proper nutrition and exercise, continual medical prenatal care and self care allowed me to carry my pregnancies to term.  

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Inspiration Motivation

My previous educational accomplishment lent to the understanding of early childhood in terms of the stages and critical points at which physical and emotional development occurs and of pervasive issues that compromise wellness.  Keeping my focus in the heart, I address family as the central point from which children evolve and grow.  The ideals and principles presented in the Division of Early Childhood (2000) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (2005) align with my sentiments for a family oriented method of educating and promoting overall wellness.  The field of Early Childhood is community that engages the laden issues that befall our children and all families, one child and one family at a time.  In psychological terms, this equates to the Rogerian Person Centered Approach I learned through a serendipitous engagement in case management (McLeod, 2019).  Being person centered changes the dynamics of engagement and inclusion, which launches us to use current strengths, knowledge and resources that can effectively and positively allow for growth.  Being person centered, or family centered, allows us the opportunity to be learners. It provides for real focus, and real issues, that may get clouded with a universal blanket.  These principles and ideals help us make better choices, and keep us focused on the collective goal.  I have put myself at the chopping block many times in the desire to communicate researched and evidence based initiatives that can be applied to the everyday, if we just took the time to listen.  Children are the most valuable source of information because we learn to see the world from their limited perspective.  Included in Gremi’s Garden blog (http://blogging-for-good.com), the following ideals and principles are words to live by.

From The Division for Early Childhood. (2000). . http://www.dec-sped.org

Enhancement of Children’s and Families’ Quality of Lives Section III #3

 “We shall recognize and respect the dignity, diversity, and autonomy of the families and children we serve.”

Responsive Family Centered Practices Section III #1

 “We shall demonstrate our respect and appreciation for all families’ beliefs, values, customs, languages, and culture relative to their nurturance and support of their children toward achieving meaningful and relevant priorities and outcomes families’ desire for themselves and their children.”

From NAEYC (2005). https://www.naeyc.org/resources/position-statements/ethical- conduct

Section I Ethical responsibility to children.

I-1.1—To be familiar with the knowledge base of early childhood care and education and to stay informed through continuing education and training.

I-1.3—To recognize and respect the unique qualities, abilities, and potential of each child.

Section II Ethical Responsibility to families

I-2.4—To listen to families, acknowledge and build upon their strengths and competencies, and learn from families as we support them in their task of nurturing children.

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Changing Times — Muddling Through My Middle Age

Coping with change has never been my strong point, which could explain why I’m feeling a bit disoriented these days. It seems that the very second I adjust to one new “normal,” everything shifts and then I have to adjust all over again. In my weaker moments, I think that all I want to do […]

Changing Times — Muddling Through My Middle Age
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The Role of Passion in Learning and Teaching

Passion has a motivating factor; therefore, it is a significant need for high quality learning and teaching. Passion is seeking for the new, and experiencing new ideas. Passion is on the basis of effective teaching. Passion which is indispensable for learning and teaching facilitates learning thorough desire and enthusiasm it creates. Passionate teachers via creating effective learning environments endeavor to increase learning potentials of their students. This study focuses on differences passionate teachers make, and points out the effects of passion on effective learning and teaching.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320661401_The_Role_of_Passion_in_Learning_and_Teaching

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Why do we keep asking ?

Is early intervention effective?

U Bronfenbrenner – Teachers College Record, 1974 – psycnet.apa.orgReviews early intervention studies in the area of poverty and human development. It is
concluded that (a) such efforts succeed only with sustained family involvement, and (b)
ecological interventions must provide parents with a basis for such involvement (eg, health
care, housing, or employment). A sequence of interventions is suggested which would
prepare people for parenthood and provide support in phases as needed through
adolescence.

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Gremi’s Garden Grows

Good day fellow scholars: I began my road to profession during my high school years. I started at a day care center. During my stead, I pursued my love for hospitality and enrolled at the Hudson County Community College Culinary Arts program. Since then, I dedicated a good portion of time in the food and beverage industry. I was always too happy to work and be engaged in every aspect, including doing dishes and mopping to bathrooms and trash. I learned early on that hard work and dedication defined who I was, who I am, and who I will be. During a time of temporary relocation I took on a role as Case Manager for a mostly Hispanic community. Here I fell in love with psychology. Soon after going back home I enrolled in the Psychology program at Argosy University in Sarasota Florida. I applied much of what I learned to how I performed my duties, how I made hiring choices, and more importantly, how to be. On the home front, I applied what I learned when engaging with my family and friends, and in doing so, I have been privileged to inspire my grandchildren grow up with curiosity and a deep love for adventure. My family is my ultimate love, and my grandkids are my greatest motivators for wanting to pursue an educational path that allows me the opportunity to inspire a young mind. Taking a moment to reflect, I have come full circle. Evaluating the things that I have done, and the strides I have made towards positive professional growth, I return to the place where it all began, school and child care. 

Pruning, potting, and regenerating. I dare you😉
My personal cheer meister

Expanding Horizons

In an interview with Meridas Yora, founder of an institution for Islamic education, also Director of 3 boarding schools established to house orphan children of conflict and more than 120, 000 orphan children as a result of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, speaks about the holistic approach that has made a difference in the lives of the children.  He first underscore that after having many psychologists working with the children, they realized that the teachers where the ones that could provide for the children.  Special training was required for the educators in the boarding schools as they needed to become the “mothers and fathers” before becoming the educators. Mr. Yora attributes the well being of the children to the holistic concepts that allow children to have a hand in their recovery and those around them.  Older children looking after the young ones, has been instrumental in creating a family dynamic that is present in the educational component as well as in the interactions within the dormitories.  Yora reminds us that the children experience their trauma every day, particularly the children of conflicts that witnessed the slaughter of their families, and who continue to be re-traumatized by their expectations of being reunited with their families.  

 Source:

World Forum Foundation Radio. Available at: http://www.viaway.com/category/2691-21490/world-forum-radio

The Center on the Developing Child: Harvard University (2006) offers a position similar to the holistic goals of Yora’s Institutions.  Understanding the current status of disparities offers an opportunity to look towards other more innovative opportunities by reviewing what science has to say.  To that end, the Center on the Developing Child, engages in a mission “to drive science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity” (p. 2).  In moving forward there are some considerations to working from a different direction.  Science provides a fresh look into opportunities that may not have been possible, and available now through scientific advances. Science allows for new thinking.  Innovation is the mode for change.  Rather than relying on restructuring existing practice, innovation provides an avenue for tackling the slow moving change of policy and service delivery. Innovation provides the opportunity for risk, creative thinking, sharing, and adaptation. A distribution of leadership is the third application that centers on the common goal of doing better for children. This approach allows for the opportunity for the multidisciplinary field to take action and be responsive to our communities.  In their global effort, the Center on the Developing child takes its stand asserting that “Our Center is well-positioned and prepared to convene and lead this collective effort” (p. 3).

Source:

Center for the Developing Child: Harvard University (2006). A Strategy to Achieve Breakthrough Outcomes for Children Facing Adversity. https://46y5eh11fhgw3ve3ytpwxt9r-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Center-on-the-Developing-Child-Case-Statement-Executive-Summary.pdf

Gremi’s Garden: Addressing issues and trends.

            Gremi’s Garden uses information from https://kidsgardening.org.  The purpose of this design is to encourage children to play, explore, discover and collaborate in a common place where creativity and imagination come alive.  Some of their highest achievements for the 2019 year include:

“Our biggest grant application cycle to date, increasing our applicant pool by 54% and distributing over $160,000 in prizes, reaching close to 75,000 kids in 222 garden programs around the country. • A continuation of our partnership with the National Head Start Association and Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation to reach early childhood centers serving some of our most vulnerable, at-risk populations nationwide. • The introduction of Chrysalis, our collaborative online initiative in partnership with national youth garden leaders and sponsors to develop a centralized, interactive, online platform to meet the growing demand for resources, networking, and funding for youth gardens”. (https://kidsgardening.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/annual-report-2019-final.pdf)

            Gardening is a useful tool for addressing concerns of nutrition, and health, encourages and promotes diversity in a way that children can identify with. Caring for a garden naturally encourages stewardship for the environment as well as for each other.  Moreover, when children engage in gardening helps to reduce diet-related illnesses, particularly in children (ie. heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes).  In addition, gardening creates a green space for growing children, directly confronting the decreased play space that has been linked to anxiety and poor mental health.

            Gardening has much to offer young children.  In the hands on participation, children are more likely to absorb the concepts of comprehension as they work the beds using math skills to distance seeds appropriately, and call on working memory to recall lessons pertaining to the project at hand.  They can also become more aware of responsibility and collaboration as they work to care for their creations. Through gardening children become more aware of the animals that surround a garden as well as their respective benefits to the different areas of the garden.

            In the garden there is no judgment, no critics, and no bias. It’s all about our ability to grow with nature, to socialize, to take on leadership roles in an arena that if defined by diversity. The garden provides benefits in support of family relationships, and family engagement in this very unique learning environment.  I encourage you to take a look, what you find may surprise you, or at least provide a path of continuity and inclusion. I have yet to find a topic that cannot be taught through gardening, especially, if the children we teach create a space that is of comfort for them.