P.S. 216 Arturo Toscanini

“The benefits of having Edible Schoolyard NYC at our school are many.  It is clear children are already learning how the Earth nourishes both our bodies and minds.” — Celia Kaplinsky, Principal at P.S. 216

In fall 2010, we established our first Showcase School program at P.S. 216.  We transformed a cement parking lot into a half-acre organic garden where students from kindergarten are taught how to harvest over 60 types of fruits, grains and vegetables. P.S. 216, The Arturo Toscanini School, is a Title 1 funded elementary school with a diverse student body. P.S. 216’s community is a multi-cultural neighborhood of families from Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Gravesend who are predominantly Asian, Russian, Latino, and Black. With no community supported agriculture programs, only two public gardens and the third lowest percentage of green, open space in Brooklyn, Gravesend was a natural choice for establishing our inaugural showcase school.

Currently, every class at P.S. 216 participates in two hands-on organic gardening classes per month that reinforce the academic curriculum. In 2012, we will eagerly begin the building of our kitchen classroom. Until then, students can get a taste of a kitchen education once a month through our companion curriculum taught in a classroom outfitted for cooking. Since establishing Edible Schoolyard NYC’s first Showcase School, P.S. 216 students have made great breakthroughs not only in their edible education but in their academic performance and overall attitudes as well. P.S. 216 has also become a go-to professional resource for teachers and principals from across the city, giving them the tools they need to incorporate an edible education into their own schools. Want to learn more? You can follow the story through P.S. 216′s newsletter, which gives parents, neighbors, and friends of the Showcase School a monthly update on everything edible.

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