NJAS Launches Exchange Program Between Colombian and New Jersey Schools
Fifth grade students in New Jersey are sharing their gardening programs with students in Uraba, Colombia as part of The New Jersey Agricultural Society's Learning Through Gardening International Sister School Exchange Program. The exchange program, which was launched this year with our partner Turbana Corp., connects students who are learning Spanish in New Jersey with students who are learning English in Colombia, through a common activity – gardening,
The first Sister School Exchange has partnered fifth grade students at Westfield, New Jersey’s Tamaques Elementary School with students of similar ages at Uraba, Colombia’s Churido Pueblo School. The Uraba school's gardening program is supported by Fundauniban, Turbana's social foundation. Turbana Corp. is a leading importer of tropical produce in North America, including bananas, plantains, pineapples, and other exotic fruits. Turbana is also a contributor to the New Jersey Agricultural Society's Farmers Against Hunger program. The agricultural society's partnership with Turbana was forged by Board of Trustees President Jerry Verrico.
The exchange program is intended to expand the students’ worldview by having them tend to a garden at school and share their experiences with their peers in another country. Fun activities build excitement and facilitate communication in both Spanish and English between the children of the two schools. These activities always tie back to the partnership’s goals of exciting children about new cultures while teaching them through gardening to make healthy food choices and care for their environment.
One such activity is a card exchange, in which students wrote to their sister school in the language they’re learning. They shared what is growing in their garden, what they have discovered while learning to garden, and described themselves and their hobbies.
To view the video by the students at Tamaques Elementary School in Westfield, NJ, click on the link below.
The children also made and exchanged video tours of their gardens and their schools. In the videos, the students are delighted to be speaking in a newly- learned foreign language. An introductory Skype session enabled the students to see each other and communicate in real-time.
A total of 128 children in New Jersey and Colombia participated in this first Sister School exchange.
“Turbana and Fundauniban maintain a continued focus on supporting educational and environmental projects because we know this is the best way to improve the quality of life for the people in our communities. Through the International Sister School Gardening Exchange, students from both schools are going to be able to learn from each other, share experiences and get to know a completely new culture,” said Marion Tabard, Turbana’s Marketing Director.
“The program is already a great success! It has created a tremendous amount of good will and excitement in both schools, and the children cannot wait to show off their gardens and crops, while sharing their stories, culture and language,” said Carolyn Taylor, director of the New Jersey Agricultural Society's Learning through Gardening program.
To view the video by the students at Churido Pueblo School in Uraba, Colombia, click on the link below.