Local Farm Helps Early Learners Explore Vegetables and Gratitude
Posted on 11/19/2021
ECLC Thanks Local Farmer

Local Farm Helps Early Learners Explore Vegetables and Gratitude


It’s remarkable what you can learn from a simple box of vegetables, especially if you’re not yet 5 years old. From colors to categories, Speech Therapist Carolyn Godfrey was able to greatly enrich her lessons at the Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) through some fresh produce and some help from the community.

The vegetables in her lesson came from the Handel Family farm, which was recently handed down to its 5th generation in East Hartford. Godfrey, with her students in mind, decided to stop by one day to see if they may be able to work together.

Farm Unit at ECLC

“When working on language goals, it is typical to choose a theme. The theme for this class was ‘The Farm.’ We worked to identify and use excellent language skill to describe all farm-related items, such as animals, animal sounds, fruits, and vegetables,” explained Godfrey.

She said, “It dawned on me. I said, ‘I’m going to take a chance. I’m going to go and talk to this farmer.’ He’s a farmer that’s in East Hartford! The preschool is right there! I’m working on the farm unit. What if he would work with us?”.

She explained to Farmer Bob Handel the connection she was hoping to make between her farm unit and the community.  

“He was thrilled to learn that our class was learning about the importance of our farms, especially since East Hartford used to be covered with farmland. As one of the few remaining farms, we both agreed that it was important for the children in the community to know that fresh, healthy food was available to them in their town farm, not just from the grocery store,” said Godfrey.

Handel, known to the students as “Farmer Bob”, happily donated a box full of vegetables to show to the kids.

“Then we started connecting where they came from,” said Godfrey.

The lessons didn’t end there. It was important to Godfrey to also teach her students that when someone does something kind for you, like Farmer Bob did with his donation, it’s polite to thank them.

First, Godfrey used the vegetables to make him a soup. Then, she had the students create a makeshift quilt using the vegetables as stamps. Handel plans to hang the quilt at his farm stand.

ECLC Principal Renee Byers said, “Carolyn’s creativity is highly motivating for students and allows for full engagement during the lessons.  Since her lessons have such a creative spin, it allows the children to absorb the information easily. The community connections that Carolyn makes are amazing for our students and families in East Hartford.”