Cedar Brook Elementary, located off Hammerly and Bingle, may have become a Recipe for Success Affiliate Partner just last fall, but the Spring Branch ISD grade school is already making a strong showing in this year’s VegOut! Challenge. As of 1 pm on Friday, March 6, Cedar Brook had 58 members fully participating.
During the first week of VegOut! the Cedar Brook students and staff wore their “jeans and greens” to show their VegOut! spirit and hosted a veggie stand for veggie sampling. So far the kids have tried calabasita (a Mexican squash) and edamame.
Cedar Brook first got the veggie spirit last fall. Before the beginning classes for the Seed-to-Plate Nutrition EducationTM program, the school elected to have students submit their own applications to join the program, and then drew 20 students’ names from all who applied. Using our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ curriculum, teachers Esmeralda Warshaw and Hortencia Flores lead the class of 20 enthusiastic students during an after-school class each Friday from 2:30 to 3:30 pm.
Warshaw explained that the class includes students from 3rd and 4th grades who are enrolled in a variety of education tracks, such as Mainstream programming, OWDLP (One Way Dual-Language Program and TWDLP (Two Way Dual Language Program). “All the students we have in the Seed-to-Plate class were recommended by their teachers,” said Warshaw. “We have really a wonderful team of volunteers that work with us all the time. We really think that is the key for success!”
On a recent Friday afternoon, the lesson that Warshaw and Flores presented was the distinction between real and fake food, which focused on the importance of reading nutrition labels to determine if a food is real food – actually nutritious and good for you – or fake food – sounds good, but offers no real food value. The teaching team had the students decorate a My Plate poster in both English and Spanish, which helped illustrate the real vs. fake food lesson. The class also learned about the taste sensors of the tongue by decorating a Tasty Tongue poster by matching the types of foods to the taste bud zones of the tongue. A total of 11 students attended the recent Friday afternoon class, as did a number of parents, volunteers and Cedar Brook Elementary Principal Jeff Post.
The VegOut-friendly recipe prepared in class was Vietnamese Spring Rolls using veggies picked from the school’s indoor and outdoor gardens, which include a cylindrical container garden, outdoor beds and a small orchard of fruit trees. The students cooked with the cilantro, carrots, green onions, mint, and basil they helped plant and grow throughout the school year. After the spring rolls were fully prepared, the students and adults sat together, announced “bon appetite” and enjoyed their veggie creations.
“This has been a wonderful experience for everyone,” said Warshaw. No surprise there is a waiting list, should spots in the class open up. Given the program’s strong start, the school hopes to expand to two classes next year. Great job Cedar Brook Elementary!