Skip to content

Exploring ʻĀINA on the Kōkua Learning Farm!

The new year kicked off with an ʻĀINA In Schools Educator Training on the Kōkua Learning Farm! ☀️

Together, 23 teachers and parent volunteers spent the day exploring the Q3 components of the ʻĀINA In Schools curriculum through activities on the Kōkua Learning Farm. Educator Trainings are full of hands-on learning opportunities, pilina-building, joy, and inspiration! Mahalo to all of our teachers, volunteers, and community members for continuing to support all components of ʻĀINA In Schools! Interested in learning more about the ‘ĀINA In Schools Program? Contact [email protected]!

Spring semester brings new gardening opportunities for students in Grades K and 1. During the training, educators were able to see the spring gardens in action on the farm. Kindergarten classes will be planting out the Tops and Bottom Garden which includes a vegetable garden of carrots, lettuce, and green beans, with edible parts that are the bottoms, tops, and middle of the plants. Key concepts for this unit include the parts of plants, the job of each plant part, edible plant parts, the life cycle of plants and harvesting. First grade students will be planting out the Good Buddy Garden which teaches the importance of companion plants and beneficial garden creatures and pests, decomposers, pollinators, natureʻs elements and proper harvesting and vegetable washing.   

Teachers were also able to have a hands-on learning experience with planting out the 5th grade Scientific Garden. In this unit, students utilize the scientific method to test the effects of certain variables on the growth of bush beans in their garden. Key concepts in this unit include the importance of observation, data collection, and experimentation for gardeners and farmers as well as the importance of soil food web and organic matter, microorganisms (fungi and bacteria), invertebrates and decomposers. 

The year-long 4th grade Hawaiian Garden is well on its way; teachers were able to prepare for Gr.4 Lesson 5 by harvesting ʻuala leaves and cooking them with garlic and a pinch of salt. They learned about the highlighted Native Hawaiian Plants in Lesson 6 by getting to know ʻakiʻaki, pōhinahina, and pāʻū o hiʻiaka  and brainstormed how to care for these natives on their respective campuses. 

The 3rd grade year long composting unit is at an exciting point where classrooms are beginning to harvest their compost systems on campus. During the training, teachers learned how to harvest vermicast and then had a refresher on aerobic composting and learned tips and tricks to harvesting an aerobic compost system.The 2nd and 6th grade upcoming nutrition lesson 5 is focused on exploring Body Building Foods which contain protein and calcium to help us grow. These foods come from both animal and plant sources. Students get to participate and taste test a locally grown Tomato and Black Bean Salsa. In Lesson 6, students discuss the importance of eating high quality fats from the Brain Food category which are high quality fats and oils that help us to learn and remember things. Students identify and sort different kinds of food containing fats into high and low quality fats from both plants and animals. Students end the lesson by preparing a close to the source snack of Brainy Guacamole made from locally grown avocados.