VEGGIE PATCH ADVENTURERS
Combining literature, music and ecology, Veggie Patch Adventurers provided 52 school children with a unique second-language learning experience. Anglophone students from the French immersion class at Allion primary school and francophone students from the intensive English class at Sainte-Bernadette-Soubirous primary school benefitted from 8 second-language workshops, representing a total 2,652 hours of linguistic duality. Workshop and project themes featured healthy life habits and the environment.
The project also involved a presentation from a professionnal working in the field of ecology. The students’ adventures in the veggie patch even inspired them to create a song (text, rhythm and music), a rendition of which they performed and recorded together at Patro Villeray auditorium with the help of a professional videographer, sound recordist and director. The final result: a “Veggie Patch Adventurers” music video launched at the 25th anniversary edition of the Blue Metropolis Festival and which has been viewed over 7,069 times!
THE PROJECT AT A GLANCE
/ 2,652 hours of linguistic duality for a combined 52 anglophone and francophone primary school second-language learners
/ A viral music video created by participating students and viewed over 7,069 times
/ 9 writing activities, featuring rap and musical composition, with rapper Shanthony Exum and writer Nisha Coleman and including one stage performance
/ 6 workshop hours on ecology and healthy eating habits and involving 4 organizations working on ecological issues
/ Project evaluated by participating teachers as having met 100% of its objectives. The objects were: to improve second-language skills and foster bilingualism among students, to stimulate their interest in healthy eating habits and ecology, and to bolster their interest in literature.
The musical video of the Veggie Patch Adventurers
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE PROJECT
Children tend to demonstrate significant interest in gardening and fruit and veggie picking (Bergan et al., 2021), interests which in turn encourage their curiosity and fosters the development of their scientific spirit (Heggen et al., 2019).
Representing know-how that will serve children in other areas of life (Pecaski McLennan, 2010), the childhood development of gardening knowledge significantly contributes to the formation of an ecologically, environmentally and culturally mindful identity for the child (Luna and Green, 2020). It also makes them an “active learner,” one that learns out of choice, not obligation (Lew-Levy et al., 2017).
Indeed, as children engage in a holistic and collaborative activity, such as taking care of plants, their personal motivation and taste for discovery grow, and their social, emotional and cognitive development reaps the benefits (Miller, 2007).
In this way, engaging with gardening and knowledge of food sources provides each child with learning opportunities that increase curiosity and wonder (Zuiker and Riske, 2021). Necessitating active focus, participation, and perception, these educational experiences enable kids to establish a relational bond with the task at hand, resulting in optimal circumstances for learning (Myrstad, 2018).
By combining second-language and gardening skills learning, this Blue Metropolis educational program aimed to create a concrete learning experience that stimulates a taste for knowledge, all while featuring a setting rich with linguistic duality and therefore conducive to second-language learning.