At the Community Synagogue Early Childhood Center, children and faculty are seeing the fruits of their labor in the vegetable garden, now in its second year of growth.
At the Community Synagogue Early Childhood Center, children and faculty are seeing the fruits of their labor in the vegetable garden, now in its second year of growth. Director Dale Oberlander reports, “We have been harvesting zucchinis, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. We are also growing lots of herbs like basil, mint, oregano, and rosemary and are teaching the children how to recognize their different aromas and textures.”
The vegetable garden is part of a greater effort within the EEC to help families and children be more mindful about the foods we eat. “We no longer serve Ritz crackers, cookies, and Goldfish for snacks,” notes Oberlander. Organic pretzels, vegetables from the garden, and fruit that is delivered to the school every week are what’s on the snack menu now.
At the Center, every Tuesday is “Tasty Tuesday” when parents bring in new foods for the children to try.
“It has been a really wonderful experience for everyone. I often receive text messages from parents who, while in the supermarket, are so delighted because their children are asking to buy pears, avocados, dates, and other more interesting fruits that they had tried in school,” says Oberlander.
“Last year, we launched a wonderful school cookbook entitled ‘Dig In.’ Proceeds from the book help us support the vegetable garden. We also hatched a big Praying Mantis egg last May and released the babies into the garden. When we returned to school in the fall, we found one all grown up.”