Farm, Food, Forest program cultivates Schoolhouse science display

Isaac Helak of Shelburne teaches visitors how to finger knit at his exhibit on sheep at the annual science display at The Schoolhouse.

Isaac Helak of Shelburne teaches visitors how to finger knit at his exhibit on sheep at the annual science display at The Schoolhouse.

The Schoolhouse pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade held an annual science display Friday, Nov. 22. This year, the school showcased students’ research projects on 30 Vermont agriculture topics including aquaculture, bees, ancient Vermont agriculture, and more.

“Wool comes from sheep and can be made into sweaters and mittens, and you get sheepskins from sheep too,” Isaac Helak of Shelburne, age five, informed visitors of his display on sheep.

For the last six weeks, Schoolhouse students and their teachers have engaged in a school-wide study of Vermont agriculture. Their exploration started with a series of presentations by the teachers on a range of topics and was followed by a student brainstorm of over 100 topics they might research. Students then selected their topics from the list and began to delve in, spending a portion of each day immersed in their topic. “Red onions and purple onions are the same thing, and onions can help with heart disease,” reported Logan Claffy of Shelburne, age nine, at her display on onions.

The topic of Vermont agriculture integrates research with the students’ experiences in the Schoolhouse’s new Farm, Food, Forest program. Every Tuesday, the elementary classes go to one of three places: Bread and Butter Farm to learn and work on the farm with co-owner Corie Pierce; to the Farm forest to learn and explore with Schoolhouse Preschool Co-Director Katie McEachen; or into the school kitchen to learn culinary skills and help prepare lunch with Food Services Director Tessa Holmes and Emily Johnson, an Americorps VISTA member.

For more information about The Schoolhouse and its programs, visit www.theschoolhousevt.org.

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