Each year, the PTA provides funding for each of our grades to partner with local institutions and experts to provide enriching educational opportunities that enhance the core curriculum. For the 2018-19 school year, we are supporting the following partnerships:
- Kindergarten: Gardening
- Grades 1 & 2: Chess
- Grade 3: Met Opera
- Grades 4 & 5: Stop Motion Animation
- All Grades: Library
This new edible garden and nutrition program aims to provide students hands-on science lessons to enhance the kindergarten science curriculum, to teach students how to care for and maintain an Edible Garden, and to bring fresh produce and knowledge of healthful eating to the kindergarten students at PS 166
Gardening expert Sarah Burns has designed a residency that consists of seven 45 minute sessions for each of our five kindergarten classes, staggered throughout the school year to correspond with planting and harvesting seasons. Ms. Burns has been an educator at both the New York Botanical Garden and the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and teaches our PS 166 after school gardening class. The residency will take place in the kindergarten garden, which is part of the kindergarten play yard.
This program fits well into the kindergarten science curriculum, which includes lessons on plants and plant parts. Students will use their senses as they plant seeds, observe and measure changes in the plants over time, and harvest and taste the produce they grow. Students will maintain the garden throughout the school year, taking responsibility for all planting and harvesting. As part of the residency, students will also make several recipes out of the plants that they grow, including a kale and garlic salad, a tomato/basil salad, and (nut free) pesto sauce. Through this program:
- Students will become familiar with digging, planting seeds, soil composition and composting, and plant care.
- Students will be introduced to the concept of harvest, including seasonal produce, plant parts, and garden-based nutrition
- Students will learn that plants require sunlight, water, air, nutrients, and space to grow
- Students will learn how to use garden tools
- Students will explore elements of an edible plant garden, including plant life cycles, insects, decomposers, and garden maintenance
- Students will be encouraged to explore the garden and make observations
This program integrates well with the goals of the school, providing an innovative way to engage students as they learn about science and nutrition and learn to take responsibility for their kindergarten garden space.
FALL 2018 update from Garden Residency Teacher Sarah Burns: As the growing season comes to a close, the PS166 gardeners are getting the school gardens ready for winter. Last month the after-school garden students planted 200 daffodils bulbs (free from the Daffodil Project, thanks to the Garden/Green committee) and the kindergarteners planted more than 100 garlic bulbs. Hopefully we will see these all appearing in the spring. The students have covered some beds with hay and others with fall leaves to keep sleeping plants a bit warmer over the cold months. We are also experimenting with plastic ‘hoop houses’ to see if we can keep harvesting some edible greens for a few more weeks. We had a very productive fall, with our lettuce, spinach, arugula, chard, kale, sorrel, bok choi, parsley, rosemary, oregano and chives all making it through the November snow storm. The day before Thanksgiving, students from Ms. Holtzman’s class (the only class that met that Wednesday) and the after-school garden program harvested pounds of produce from both school gardens. We bagged and labeled all the greens and then brought them over to Goddard Riverside Community Center for their yearly Thanksgiving meal. The meal is free to everyone in the community, but especially the elderly and homeless. The students talked with Goddard staff about the produce they had grown and then met with one of the chefs in the kitchen. Goddard was thrilled to get all our fresh herbs and vegetables and we hope to continue our relationship with them in the spring.
All 200 students in our 1st and 2nd grades participate and look forward to chess, taught by outstanding chess master Jonathan Corbblah. Through weekly chess lessons, these children learn how to analyze information, strategize, and overcome challenges while they develop sportsmanship, resourcefulness and confidence. Many are inspired to move on to our nationally ranked after-school chess team, The Manhattan Knights. Teaching chess in the classroom introduces critical thinking skills, which are applicable across the school curriculum.
Click here to read more about the chess tradition at PS166.
This year, all third graders will partner with the Metropolitan Opera for their residency. Through this program, students create and present musical dramas based on source material (stories, poems, or historical events) drawn from classroom curriculum. Weekly student instruction in text analysis, libretto writing, music composition, and theatrical staging focuses on developing both academic and socio-personal skills. By the end of the program, the students have written their own operas, performed them in front of their school community, and visited the Metropolitan Opera House for a dress rehearsal. This program incorporates the arts into the Common Core curriculum while exposing them to the opera.
Stop Motion Animation
PS166 fourth and fifth graders will be partnering with the Children’s Museum of the Arts for an exciting 9-week residency in stop-motion animation combining creativity and technology.
Led by educators from New York City’s Children’s Museum of the Arts, children develop narration skills as they create their own storyboards, bring objects to life on the screen, and create short films using a variety of stop motion animation techniques. The program culminates in a short film viewing for children and their families.
Thank you to the Art Partnership Grant from the Department of Education, which funded our initial stop motion animation residency for fourth graders in the 2017-18 school year, and to PS 166 Art Teacher Ms. King for discovering this program, applying for the grant, and for bringing the stop motion program to our school.