New 4th Grade Steps to Health a Huge Hit

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Image of children gardening The Steps to Health 4th Grade program is a garden and nutrition-based curriculum that integrates health education, science, social studies, math, and language arts for North Carolina 4th graders. Steps to Health 4th Grade seeks to inspire students to plant, grow, and try a variety of vegetables in a school garden setting while learning about nutrition and physical activity.

Another image of children gardeningSteps to Health 4th Grade brings together multiple facets of the school and community. The curriculum includes classroom-based lessons, taste tests, physical activity, hands-on garden experiences, and inter-class challenges. Program success relies on the collaboration and leadership of a Nutrition Educator, Shannon Coleman, who provides 9 in-classroom sessions; a Garden Educator; local Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteers who provides 3 in-gardens sessions; and the Classroom Teacher, Leanne Cook, who provides weekly supplemental activities.

Image of a group of children gardeningThis was the first time N.C. Cooperative Extension has been able to teach the 4th grade Steps to Health program. 4-H Youth Development Agent, Shannon Coleman, has been teaching the 2nd and 3rd-grade program for seven years. These programs have been a huge success but did not get as in-depth as to where our food comes from as far as fruits and vegetables. The program was held at Murphy Elementary School with 4th grade science teacher Leanne Cook. The school already had a raised bed that the Master Gardeners had built a few years ago so it was a perfect fit for a small plot planting space. Students loved the planting activities and the taste test challenges, as well as the get moving challenges. We loved the students learning about where their foods come from and the joy of gardening.