NJTV to Spotlight Ethel A. Jacobsen Schoolyard Garden

Episode Will Air This Winter
Oct 25, 2017
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

See the Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School garden and its young caretakers on the small screen when an episode of “Classroom Close-up, NJ” filmed on the school grounds in Surf City airs on NJTV this winter. The weekly New Jersey Education Association television magazine program focuses on innovative projects in the state’s public schools.

“Each of us was flabbergasted to find out that ‘Classroom Close-up, NJ’ wanted to feature our schoolyard garden in a segment of their Emmy-award winning program,” said E.J. school nurse Bianca Aniski. “We were stunned but well prepared because this is our eighth year of schoolyard gardening.

“Over the years we have developed what works in our garden for our elementary school-aged children, what is educationally sound and generates happy, engaged students ready to learn. Our staff, students and administrator are of a five-star quality every day, but on that garden day they shined even brighter.”

The film crew visited the school on Oct. 3, and the kids, said first grade teacher Sarah Esarey, “did what they normally do out in the garden.”

Esarey, with help from a few of the school’s students, presented a slideshow of photos from the day of the filming during last week’s LBI Board of Education meeting. The pre-kindergarten to second grade students picked vegetables, planted an apple tree, explored the parts of a sunflower, released butterflies, read in the garden and more.

As Esarey told those in attendance at the meeting, “This is a day in the life of E.J.”

“Everyone did a fantastic job,” Superintendent Peter Kopack remarked.

The E.J. episode is scheduled to air on NJTV at 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m on Dec. 24 and Jan. 28. (The Christmas Eve date may change.)

As Aniski said Monday, “Our garden-based learning did not end with the fall harvest. This week the students will be planting garlic to ‘keep the vampires away’; harvesting carrots and Swiss chard; planting cruciferous veggies that include cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts; and working with butternut squash.

“From a literature point-of-view, the veggies will be linked to ‘Creepy Carrots’ by Aaron Reynolds and ‘Sophie's Squash’ by Pat Zietlow Miller. Both are available at the E.J. School and at the Island Branch of the Ocean County Library. The remaining veggies are being explored as a potential candidate for this year's ‘New Year, New Veggie' garden celebration.”

A photo album of the schoolyard garden is available at flickr.com/gp/njea/WKU42A.

— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch


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