DILIMAN, Quezon City—Over 100 principals and teachers from 37 schools nationwide are now looking forward to bringing agriculture closer to the hearts of their students through the “AgriKids Digital Learning Resources for Future Farmers.” This is after taking part in the nationwide consultation series held for the project last month.
“AgriKids” is spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) and the Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. (KCFI), in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd). It aims to provide an avenue for kids to understand the important role that agriculture plays in their daily lives.
The Institute also sees this as an opportunity to introduce agriculture to children early on, as part of their formal education, even in the new normal set up of learning from home.
In line with the program’s “Consult, Develop, Integrate” strategy, a consultation series was conducted last August 18, 20, and 23, 2021 with school heads and master teachers from Schools Division Offices (SDOs) in different regions nationwide. This is to identify at least 10 “hard-to-teach” topics on agriculture for Pre-Kinder to Grade 2 that will be the focus of the AgriKids learning videos that the ATI and KCFI will produce.
These videos are expected to be part of the digital learning resources of the DepEd K-12 for 2021-2025, for the use of students in around 10,000 public schools across the country.
For Luzon, the topics identified are Pagpaparami ng mga Halaman (Stem Cutting), Pagpaparami ng mga Halaman (Leaf Cutting), Pisikal na Katangian ng mga Halaman, Siklo ng Buhay ng Halaman, and Mga Bagay mula sa Halaman.
For the Visayas group, the topics are Mga Uri ng Halamang Gulay, Mga Uri ng Halamang Gamot, and Halamang Ornamental. For Mindanao SDOs, these are Pangunahing Gawain ng mga Dahon and Kahalagahan ng mga bulaklak (insects).
ATI and KCFI officials and facilitators were also present during the virtual consultations. KCFI Reading Education Consultant Suzeth Saavedra served as the resource person for “Raising Young Gardeners and Farmers with Knowledge Channel and ATI”.
Meanwhile, in her welcome remarks, ATI officer-in-charge Assistant Director Antonieta Arceo recalled the early stages of the Institute’s partnership with the KCFI for AgriKids, which was piloted in two private grade schools in Quezon City in 2019. She added that working the KCFI and school teachers is the best way for the Institute to encourage kids to appreciate agriculture and, if possible, influence them to take agri-related courses in the future.
Arceo stressed that the ATI is committed to contribute and assist in the development and dissemination of various learning materials for students. She hoped that through this project, both institutions will be able to develop tailor-fit materials for the needs of the teachers and students.
KCFI Director of Operations Edric Calma also shared his gratitude for the partnership with the ATI and DepEd. He said that, through this undertaking, engaging and practical resources will be produced that can also be used in other subjects.
Calma spoke from experience as he shared his appreciation for the agri-related subjects that they had back in school, such as budding, grafting, and growing specific plots. These, he said, are no longer just possible in the provinces but also in metro areas because of urban gardening.
Calma thanked the teachers for making time for the project, as he gave an overview of the activities for the project, including the pre- and post-tests of the video resources to be held in October as part of the Knowledge Channel Training in the New Normal.
Lizel Martinez, a teacher from Labac Elementary School in Lipa, Batangas, shared her appreciation for having the chance to attend the activity and said that they are looking forward to using the AgriKids videos in their school.
Rizalina Tuliao, principal of Tuguegarao East Central School, is also glad to be part of the project as it will allow them to help their students discover agriculture.
“We exceedingly hope that AgriKids will bring the heart of every learner closer to appreciating the importance of home gardening. We expect that it will make each teacher learn the best approaches in teaching,” she said.
From the Visayas group, teacher Glaisa Ponte from Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu was also thankful for “the opportunity to participate in this program with AgriKids and Knowledge Channel.”
“This is a wonderful way of integrating agriculture-related topics for our young learners to develop love and interest in taking care of our Mother Nature,” she added.
Domalyn Quino, a teacher from Panabo Central Elementary School, also noted that the “activity gave value to our farmers and the importance of agriculture.” (with reports from Jenny Rose Gabao)