This week’s update comes early with such a short week – as there is no school this Thursday and Friday. This week we had the year’s first harvesting from our hydroponics lab, which was built last year with our partners at NY Sun Works. Students in first, second, third, and fourth grades have been working hard in the lab since September! Earlier this week Davon’s, Susan/Jeanette’s, and Ally/Shelby’s classes harvested greens and vegetables they had grown and were able to take their harvest home and enjoy it with their families. Other classes will be harvesting in the next cycle. Below I’ve included Jean’s note about the hydroponics science curriculum.
Next Friday, December 1 we will continue our CWS tradition of participating in World AIDS Day with a brief march in the neighborhood. This will begin after morning drop-off and families are welcome to join us.
As a reminder, the school doors are locked from 1-1:30pm daily during the school safety agent’s break.
Mark your calendars:
I wish you peace and restfulness during the break, and look forward to seeing you on Monday, November 27.
Hydroponics at CWS
September 2022 was the opening of the CWS Hydroponic Farm because teachers and parents wrote and won a grant in 2020. New York Sunworks has built nearly 300 labs in NYC public schools, mostly high schools. We were fortunate to win the grant and now we have our lab on the second floor room 210. We are thrilled to be able to have such an exciting, hands-on, active farm in our school and to begin our learning about the cycle of Hydroponic food production.
This year students from grades 1-4 have been enjoying Hydroponics lessons once a week. We will add lessons for the fifth graders later in the year. We have a classroom attached to the lab room 211. During Hydroponics lessons, we start each session with a meeting and mini-lesson using a curriculum designed by the NY Sunworks Learning Center. They provide on-line information for parents as well. The hydro lessons focus on following the steps of planting, transplanting, caring for and harvesting food. For each harvest the children plant 140 seeds in total, then the seeds planted in the rockwool are placed under grow lights with heating pads to encourage germination. When the seedlings are strong enough, the students will transplant the seedlings into the water cycling Hydroponic systems. Hydroponics uses cycling water and adds nutrients to the roots of plants, not soil. The three hydroponic systems in our lab are two Tower Gardens, two Nutrient Film Tables (NFT) and one Vine Crop System (VCS). The students will become more and more familiar with all three systems. Many students remember quite a bit from last year.
The seedlings grow rapidly in the systems and in a few weeks we will have fresh green butter lettuce, red butter lettuce, arugula, basil, snow peas, swiss chard and more!
The harvest is a very exciting time for our whole community. Each harvest is used in different ways. Sometimes fresh produce is given directly to students to take home and share. Sometimes large salads are made in classrooms for sharing. Sometimes you will see fresh produce made available on Fridays during the Coffee and… mornings. The greens are picked fresh with NO travel delays before eating. The tastes are strong and delicious. Many green varieties are unfamiliar to the students and we are happy to be introducing these healthy choices and varieties as a part of a weekly in school farming experience.
All community members are encouraged to stop by and see the lab. The Hydroponic lab looks different from week to week. If you are in the building, pop in to see what is happening. Our three school turtles are also housed in the lab. The students love to visit them as well.
Jean Finnerty- Hydro Teacher room 211