by: Cian Brun, City Sprouts Education Manager
In August 2021 - after a few long years of social distancing and virtual education - City Sprouts launched a new daytime education program for homeschooled students - aptly named "Home Grown Kids"! This program is designed for kids ages 8-12 and covers a variety of gardening, nature, and healthy lifestyle topics, like herbal remedies and cooking from scratch. We did not know what to expect when starting this program – all we knew was what we had heard in the news about families deciding to homeschool more during the pandemic, and we hoped for the best. We were taken aback by the flood of interest and success in the pilot year of this program!
City Sprouts' Education Manager and lead teacher Cian Brun drew on their years of experience in youth education to determine what they hoped would be popular and engaging classes for this new program. At 90 minutes per class, the Home Grown Kids program became the longest school age program Cian had taught since starting at City Sprouts, and this brought about some unique opportunities as well as challenges. Here's what Cian had to say on this:
In my years at City Sprouts, the program that has taken the majority of my time has been Garden to Table - our after school program at King Science and Technology and Lewis and Clark middle schools. While I love our middle school program, the most limiting aspect has been fitting an engaging and educational lesson into a 45 minute timespan. So, I was eager to explore the opportunities that a 90 minute program would bring! In the pilot year of Home Grown Kids, we were able to cook a wider range of recipes – such as during the Great Home Grown Kids Bake-off, where students teamed up to create baked goods within some loose parameters for a team of judges. Having a months-long cohort-style program also brought about the ability to create multi-week lessons that built on each other. For example, students created scientific observation notebooks to document a variety of changes in the garden over time. My biggest challenge was curbing my excitement to fit everything I dreamed of into the time we had!
One of the challenges that comes with youth education in general is creating activities that will be engaging for a wide range of skills and interests. Cian conducted feedback surveys with the students both semesters to inform curriculum choices going into the next academic year. Here's what some of the students had to say when asked their favorite aspects of Home Grown Kids:
"My favorite thing was Jeopardy because it was very fun and a test of the knowledge we learned. This class didn't feel like a tight schedule all the time, it was more laidback which gave us opportunities to get to talk to friends while still learning." – Asher
"I liked taking care of the chicks because they were adorable." – Hazel
"The pizza party was my favorite! I liked making the pizza with the cool pizza oven. This class was more making stuff and less just hearing about stuff than other classes I've taken - a little more adventure." – Gabry
If you weren't able to be a part of this program in its first year, good news – we are preparing for another fabulous semester of Home Grown Kids this Autumn! The program will host two 8-week cohorts on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30-12:00. The Tuesday cohort will run August 30-October 18 and the Thursday cohort will run September 1-October 20. If you aren't able to join the full cohort, there are a limited number of single-day spots available as well. For more information on Home Grown Kids or to register, please visit www.omahasprouts.org/home-grown-kids. Registration fills up fast and is first-come-first-served, so if you are interested in joining, please fill out the form at the link above ASAP. Any additional questions can be answered by Cian at email@example.com. We're excited for you to grow with us in class this Autumn!
Register today before the classes are full! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.