Preschoolers make homemade spaghetti sauce

Tyler Martineau/Lingle Guide Students at Planting Roots Preschool picked tomatoes from their community garden to make a homemade spaghetti sauce.

FORT LARAMIE – The Planting Roots Preschool enjoyed the results of their community garden on Wednesday by making spaghetti sauce with their own tomatoes.

In the summer and early fall, the people from the community are welcome to picking anything from the garden. Laura Curtsinger said the kids learn about how they are able to benefit the community.

“They got to see that whole process of starting from seed and growing this gorgeous plant, and also sharing it with the whole community,” Curtsinger said.

The kids went into the geodome outside of the community center and took turns picking tomatoes to use for a homemade spaghetti sauce. Curtsinger helped each student dice a tomato with a kid-friendly knife and allowed them all to add an ingredient of the sauce.

According to Curtsinger, most kids refuse to eat a tomato regularly, but the project helped them to see other ways it can be used.

“They cut it up and put it into a sauce and created something that they all loved,” Curtsinger said.

From dicing the tomatoes, to adding fennel seeds to the sauce, each preschooler was excited to contribute to the final product.

Fort Laramie Mayor Joyce Evans also helped the students with the project. Evans said making the sauce from scratch taught the kids about fractions when cutting the tomatoes, and to always have clean hands while cooking along with the overall process of growing the produce. Evans said these skills are something the kids will always remember.

“They know a lot about [gardening] but they don’t think about that being a way to help their community,” Evans said. “I think this is a good opportunity to realize it’s good way to give back to your community, and when they learn these things as little kids, they will keep it as adults.”

The next plan for the gardening unit is to add composting in order to teach student the entire food cycle. In terms of what to grow next, Curtsinger has some ideas which will start soon.

“I think they’re going to plant some herbs this year,” Curtsinger said. “They have a great growing system right in the classroom so they can watch it grow.”

The students had an experiment with the tomatoes on which ones would ripen first in different spots in the classroom. Curtsinger said it was another way for the kids to be involved with the growing process.

It seems like a really huge concept, but it’s part of their nature… it makes more sense to go out there and pick a tomato and cook with it then it does to go to a grocery store and those don’t even taste good,” Curtsinger said.

The students already have pumpkins picked out in the classroom to make pies with just in time for Thanksgiving. It is another food Curtsinger said most kids don’t like but enjoy when they make it on their own.

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