LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines – Lesson plans incorporating environment and related concepts are being finalized under a joint research program by government institutions and a Southeast Asian center.
The instructional materials integrate concepts of sustainable ecological and organic agriculture, nutrition, and climate change in subjects such as science, mathematics, English, and Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan (for Grade 4) and Technology and Livelihood Education (for Grade 7).
Near the end of its first year, the ongoing activity is named "Participatory Action Research on School – and Community-based Food and Nutrition Program for Literacy, Poverty Reduction, and Sustainable Development," or the School and Home Gardens Program.
Implementing it are the Department of Education (DepEd)-Laguna, the Los Baños-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), University of the Philippine Los Baños (UPLB), five elementary schools and a high school in as many Laguna local government units (LGU).
The elementary schools are in the towns of Alaminos, Cabuyao, Majayjay, Nagcarlan and Pila. The high school is in the Laguna capital town of Sta. Cruz.
The program has been envisioned to improve the nutritional conditions and dietary habits of school children through experiential learning activities that instill the importance of agriculture, environmental concerns, and use of locally adapted agricultural technologies.
"Science-based knowledge and simple productive technologies will play major roles in the project, one of which is the introduction of edible landscaping systems in schools," the project proponents said.
In each participating school, an optimal-sized greenhouse with rainwater collection system was assembled to ensure a sustainable and continuous production of vegetable crops throughout the year.
Preliminary to the preparation of the lesson plans, a series of seminars and workshops was conducted to enable the teachers to better grasp the concepts and principles of sustainable, ecological and organic agriculture, edible landscaping, nutrition, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.