Yesterday two local schools celebrated spring by breaking out the soil and seedlings in their teaching gardens. The school gardens, Crespo Elementary in Houston ISD and James Bowie Elementary in Goose Creek CISD (Baytown), are sponsored by the local chapter of the American Heart Association (AHA). The association sponsors teaching gardens across the country to teach children about healthy habits.
Crespo Elementary is sponsored in part by a $250,000 grant from the MetLife Foundation, and James Bowie Elementary is sponsored locally by San Jacinto Methodist Hospital. With the addition of these two new gardens, the American Heart Association will now have three in the Houston area, with many more planned in the coming years.
Studies show that healthy behavior positively impacts learning. The goal of the program is to improve children’s health.
- Nearly 1 in 3 American children is overweight or obese.
- American eating habits are leading to modern day “malnutrition,” with diets full of junk foods.
- French fries are the most common source of vegetables consumed by children and make up one-fourth of their vegetable intake. Juice, which may lack important fiber found in whole fruits, accounts for 40 percent of children’s daily fruit intake.
The American Heart Association Teaching Gardens, founded by Kelly Meyer, is an innovative national, school-based program to re-establish what it means to be healthy. Aimed at elementary school students, the Teaching Garden program provides hands-on learning experiences rooted in offering nutritional choices. For more information about the Teaching Gardens program and how you can participate, visit www.heart.org/teachinggardens.