Once a month our Eatonville High School G.R.I.T.S. (Growing Relationships in the Soil) “farmers” and our Columbia Crest A-S.T.E.M. Academy 4th graders come together at the Kjelstad-Burwash Farm to share topics of study with each other.
This hands-on-tools, feet-on-the-ground, project-based learning has been made possible by our District’s acquisition of a spectacular “classroom” (the farm), the creation of the G.R.I.T.S. program, which offers high school students equal time in the classroom and on the farm, and transportation funding provided through our C.T.E. (Career Technical Education) budget. While lessons are founded on grade-appropriate Next Generation Science Standards, far more than science is afoot. Science and local history, collaboration and presentation skills, community building, empathy, and responsibility have all developed as areas of substantial growth for both groups.
This cross-grade experience has unlocked incredible purposeful learning as students work hard to provide high quality projects and experiences for each other. Teachers Alex Van Steen (4th grade) and Tod Morrish (high school) are not surprised in the least that our students, when provided this type of opportunity, are masterfully executing month after month of amazing lessons for each other.