The new Early Childhood Learn, Grow, Eat and GO!, or Early Childhood LGEG, a curriculum of the Junior Master Gardener program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, is complete and now available.
The curriculum can be accessed at https://tx.ag/JMGEarlyChildhood and through the Texas A&M AgriLife Bookstore. The 154-page illustrated curriculum comes in a sturdy, colorful binder with tabs denoting weekly lessons. The cost is $56, and a variety of free materials to supplement the curriculum are also available.
Online resources supporting the implementation of the Early Childhood LGEG curriculum, including materials for parental engagement, are available on the site. Resources are for use by teachers to send home with their students, so parents can become involved in program activities. There is also more information about the curriculum, free downloads of sample lessons and details on how to purchase the curriculum through links to the Texas A&M AgriLife Bookstore.
About the Early Childhood LGEG curriculum
The Early Childhood LGEG curriculum was specifically developed for students 4-5 years old. It combines plant and garden learning, food and nutrition, and brain- and body-boosting physical activities, along with novel ways to engage parents, schools and the community.
The new curriculum builds on the research-based success of its predecessor, the Learn, Grow, Eat and GO curriculum for elementary students, explained Randy Seagraves, AgriLife Extension program specialist and International Junior Master Gardener program curriculum director, Bryan-College Station.
“This is the most age-specific group of children for which we have developed a Junior Master Gardener curriculum,” Seagraves said. “It is ideal for preschools, Head Start programs, kindergarten programs and other less formal educational settings.”
Seagraves said the program can potentially make even more significant changes in youth perceptions about foods and nutrition than the LGEG program targeted to elementary school children.
“When our youngest students are engaged and active hands-on learners in a school gardening project, they not only grow plants but they grow academically, socially and emotionally,” he said. “There are also health benefits, and the curriculum has been developed so parents, schools and communities can be more engaged in the program.”
Program themes and development
Seagraves said the Early Childhood LGEG curriculum provides rich, interesting lessons, group activities and a host of proven resources crafted around weekly plant themes. It is a four-week curriculum with these specific themes:
• Week 1: Plant Needs and Plant Parts.
• Week 2: Seeds and Roots.
• Week 3: Stems and Leaves.
• Week 4: Flowers and Fruit.
“This unique curriculum is the product of an incredible team effort of Head Start teachers, kindergarten teachers and expert contributors from across the country,” Seagraves said. “From its conception through its three-year development, national-piloting effort, production and final printing, more than 300 teachers, students and contributors have had a hand in making this new curriculum a reality.”