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.

 Two Children holding Herbs in the School Garden 

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. 

Met Opera

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.

New York Historical Society

PS 166 fourth and fifth graders will be partnering with the New York Historical Society for exciting residencies!

The New-York Historical Society Education Division provides dynamic programming and curriculum resources for students and teachers in New York and beyond. Historical study sparks curiosity and creativity, promotes cultural understanding, and fosters an empowered citizenry to strengthen our democracy. Our staff of passionate professionals draws on our world-renowned collections to engage learners of all ages in the study of our collective past.

Grade 4 students will study the power of printed images and words from the American Revolution and engrave and print a Loyalist or Patriot broadside in the Art of History program.

Grade 5 students will compare the idealized American West depicted in the songs “The Farmer and the Cowman,” “Oklahoma!”, and “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” to the reality of the intense struggle between ranchers, farmers, and Native communities in the History on Broadway: Oklahoma! program.  


Thanks to the hard work and dedication of so many parents, the PTA has raised funds to support PS166 residencies.

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