Junior Master Gardeners
Updated: Oct 10, 2021
When | Summer 2018
Website | Jmgkids.us
Objectives | To engage youth in hands-on learning experiences that “promote a love of gardening, develop an appreciation for the environment, and cultivate the mind”
Outcomes | 1) youth planned, planted, and cared for their own garden; 2) youth completed activities in each section of the curriculum; 3) youth engaged in a variety of activities that allowed them to explore CCE Nassau’s East Meadow Farm.
Highlights | Teaching many lessons with diverse youth groups
My Role | Curriculum adaptation and implementation
My Story | I adapted and taught this curriculum my second summer at CCE Nassau. I remember being so excited to delve into this project after working with a small group of students the summer prior. When I learned that I would work with a library after school group aged 13 to 17, my excitement only grew as I hadn’t as much experience with older youth. For weeks, I read through the entire curriculum, seeing what I could keep, change, and omit while still providing a meaningful program for the youth. I asked the youth director running the youth group dozens of questions so I could be as prepared as possible.
It wasn’t long after starting the program that I was reminded of the unpredictable nature of teaching. The group’s skill levels varied greatly, some were much less generally interested than others, the lesson duration and number of students varied meeting to meeting, and one child did not know any English. I was stressed. It took a few tries, but I eventually further adapted my lessons plans and became even more comfortable with sudden change. Over time, the group did too. They became more comfortable with the farm, were energized during the games I planned, and responsive to questions. By the end every child, regardless of their initial interest in the program, was genuinely proud of the garden s/he helped grow from seed to harvest, and I was too.
Photo Descriptions | Me, leading the junior master gardener group; Photo credit: Syntychia Kendrick-Samuel (top right) | Junior Master Gardener 4-H logo