Salem trainer recognized for aiding little ones get their arms filthy

Stephanie Madison has raised animals and crops given that childhood and operates a smaller farmstand in west Salem. Her classroom at Myers Elementary College is teeming with life, from a bearded dragon to seedlings her pupils are rising. It is all element of her effort and hard work to deliver hands-on agriculture lessons to them.


Fourth grade teacher Stephanie Madison checks up on not too long ago hatched chicks at Myers Elementary University on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Stephanie Madison is adept at conjuring loads of meals from very very little land.

The Myers Elementary College teacher claimed she’s grown more than 100 lbs of develop on one particular-fifth of an acre of land in the center of Salem, thanks to sq. foot gardening and fruit trees.

About two many years back, she moved to a just one-acre west Salem residence on Northwest Echo Generate, promoting llama manure, compost, eggs and excess vegetables from a roadside stand. Proceeds go to her daughter’s faculty fund, and Madison invitations people to consider what they have to have even if they are not able to shell out.

“If it does not give me food stuff or it is not definitely, really quite or smells actually, genuinely excellent, it is not likely to survive lengthy on my assets,” Madison explained.


The Echo Valley Farm stand in west Salem (Courtesy/Stephanie Madison)

Madison’s love of gardening and animals is well known in her classroom, and led the Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Basis to understand her as their instructor of the calendar year for 2021.

With her third and fourth grade college students, Madison has introduced in a staff of biologists to dissect fish in her class, sent property seeds and helped them tend the school’s yard.

Her classroom at this time has a bearded dragon, named Dino Smaug, who belongs to a college student.

There is also a betta fish, who the course christened “Long Division.”

Myers’ really like of agriculture began throughout her childhood on a pastime farm south of Salem, where her mothers and fathers raised a large garden and “dozens of animals.”

As a child, she was an avid 4-H participant through large university, then became a leader in higher education.

Her house now consists of additional than 40 animals.

“Most of them are chickens,” Madison mentioned, while the herd includes a llama (named Lumberjack’s Colonel, or Jack for short) and alpaca (Bella Noir) who she took trick-or-managing this 12 months.

“He was not a huge supporter of it,” Madison reported of Jack, who carried a pack for the candy.

1637790331Stephanie Madison with her alpaca, Bella Noir, in 2020 (Courtesy/Stephanie Madison)

In class, Madison claimed agricultural routines have normally drawn her learners in, offering them a hands-on way to study about science and the world all around them. She utilizes kits from the foundation to integrate fingers-on activities.

“One of the positive aspects of employing agriculture as a context is that, by mother nature, it is multidisciplinary and our mission is to assistance educators include it into a number of topics. If educators have a passion and fascination, they uncover the integration to arrive very normally,” explained Jessica Jansen, the foundation’s government director, in an e mail.

Jansen stated about 5,000 Oregon teachers use their supplies every calendar year, but Madison is a “superuser.” Madison receives the foundation’s every month membership box, which has a seasonal lesson for pupils about every thing from hydroponics to the lifetime cycle of Douglas fir trees.

People lessons have been specially practical more than the previous two a long time – very first, for trying to keep her course engaged during online university, and then for giving them a explanation to search ahead to returning in-man or woman.

1637790301Third and fourth grade Myers Elementary students take part in a “pumpkin experiment” in the fall of 2021 in teacher Stephanie Madison’s course (Courtesy/Stephanie Madison)

“It was a massive motivator to get young ones to indication on for their on line studying,” Madison explained. She led class from her garage, holding up lately hatched chicks in an incubator.

With her college students back now, she’s sent dwelling corn seeds for college students to try to germinate on their windowsills.

“Coming again from a pandemic of a 12 months and a fifty percent at home and a ton of display time for kiddos and not a ton of instructor focus or anticipations or rigor in curriculum, it’s significantly more tricky to preserve students’ interest and preserve them engaged in their studying,” Madison stated.

When she incorporates agriculture, she sees her learners shell out notice.

“It’s not just a worksheet like, ‘Okay, fill out the upcoming bubble, fill out the future box.’ It is get your arms in the soil and plant that seed,” she reported. “That arms-on studying is enormous for kids and it tends to make it just so a lot additional enjoyable. University continue to needs to be enjoyment and it can be fun and engaging and real studying all of the identical time.”

1637790300In a pre-pandemic lesson, Stephanie Madison’s course gets a pay a visit to from an alpaca to study about how animals’ bodies adapt for survival (Courtesy/Stephanie Madison)

Get hold of reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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