Kū ‘Āina Pā: Standing Firmly in Knowledge Upon the Land
Kū ‘Āina Pā is a school garden teacher training and certification program for Hawai‘i’s school learning garden and classroom educators. Since 2012 we’ve worked with three cohorts comprised of 80 teachers from Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, and O‘ahu.
In January 2016 we will once again convene all three cohorts at Māla‘ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School to share their knowledge, skills, and best practices as garden educators and class teachers. Connecting classroom core curriculum to school gardens is an instructional strategy that engages Hawai‘i’s students and promotes deeper learning. Applying the skills and knowledge learned in classrooms to solve a real-world challenges is the essence of the new science (NGSS) and Common Core curricula. Please check our Events page after September 2015.
Our Kū ‘Āina Pā team of 15 teacher-leaders will continue to meet and refine our School Learning Garden Curriculum Map Project in 2015–2016. The Map will create alignment, suggested activities, and extensions to the classroom between garden standards (skills and knowledge) and classroom standards (Common Core: Wonders and Stepping Stones, HCPS III Science and Next Generations Science Standards, and Hawai‘i’s Health Standards for K-8 teachers). We will be piloting this alignment by Fall 2016 in ten schools. The four domains that will be expanded in the Map are:
- A Sense of Place: Sustainable living is rooted in a deep knowledge of place and self
- The Living Soil, Plants, and Animals: We are all interconnected and related
- Nourishment: Feed the mind and body to stay healthy and flourish
- Nature’s Design: Systems, cycles, patterns, and relationships
Please contact Nancy Redfeather at The Kohala Center if your school faculty would like to learn more about this program that integrates standards with the infrastructure of your outdoor classroom to facilitate deeper learning, greater health, and achievement for your students.
Goals and Objectives of Kū ‘Āina Pā (see course timeline):
Cultivate Our Sense of Place in the Living World:
- Understand the foundations and benefits of garden-based learning
- Build knowledge and practice of organic gardening systems
- Incorporate place-based, project-based, experiential and inquiry learning into garden activities
- Align HCPS III with garden-based learning in science, math, literacy and health; learn to connect the Core Curriculum into garden-based learning
- Engage with faculty, administration, and community to create successful partnerships
- Strengthen your understanding of SustĀinability Education and appropriate whole systems work by grade level
- Integrate hands-on STEM learning into daily garden classes
- Hone your nutritional knowledge from Seed to Table
Foster Research and Reflection:
- Help you to create rubrics and logic models to incorporate into your planning
- Strengthen your toolbox of teaching techniques for the outdoor classroom
- Learn to design, build, and maintain an exceptional School Learning Garden
- Develop your own lesson “style” and create a daily class rhythm
- Practice “reflection” and a variety of tools for evaluation
- Create and present an Action Research Project over one year
As you can see, school garden educators are multi-faceted. You are a gardener, but you are also a teacher. You may well become part of your school’s science or STEM team. You are constantly thinking of ways to present core curriculum in engaging and experiential ways. Food, water, energy, waste, and economics play into the whole system of the garden every time you go out to work, as do the General Learner Outcomes. In the past, farming and gardening were practiced as an art, but today they have become a science with an emphasis on technology. It is our hope that by working together, we can develop a Hawai‘i School Learning Garden Team of Educators that will once again bring science AND the art of food production together in soil/seed to table programs. We can practice sound health education, connect with science and literacy standards, and work to elevate environmental sustainability to its proper place within our community’s vision of the future. The students will be leading the way and you will be facilitating their exploration, discovery, and invention working with these living dynamic systems of change. What an opportunity! It’s just what the world needs at just the right moment.