Meet Miss Nune, avid gardener, ECE teacher and earth steward.
Edurne Artazcoz Glaria, or Miss Nune as she is known by students, teachers and parents at Maxwell Elementary where she teaches Early Childhood Education (ECE), works with 3 year-old students with a variety of abilities using sensorial experiences to engage them with the world and each other.
Miss Nune grew up gardening thanks to her father, who loved to grow their own produce constantly digging in the soil, and using the produce in their homemade meals. “I’ve always loved to garden,” she said, “it is such a great way to connect with nature and I want to share that with my students.”
She has adapted the curriculum to support the learning of her diverse students, from creating visual materials to provide kids with autism a different way to communicate their needs with her and their classmates, to teaching in Spanish to welcome native-Spanish speakers, creating a safe and nurturing environment for all.
Gardening is one more tool Miss Nune uses to engage the kids in sensorial nature-driven education. She follows the natural cycles of plants to teach kids about seasonality, “We had been talking about pumpkin seeds and showing them what a plant looks like. Then DUG brought us mini pumpkins for each child to be able to paint one and take it home. The kids loved it!” she said.
Our Youth Education team has been working with Miss Nune since September of 2021 when she joined a cohort of teachers working to incorporate gardening education in their curriculum. “When I heard of the program I immediately applied because I saw the potential it could have on my students,” she said.
She incorporated vermiculture education with the support of our Youth Ed team and a Master Composter, who first taught the cohort how to care for Red Wiggler worms. “The kids love to take care of the worms,” she said, “they are our pets, and we check them every week. The kids feed them leftover fruit scraps and make sure their home is comfortable, it’s one of our favorite activities!”
In the spring, Miss Nune received a few Grow A Garden kits and divided the plants among the kids. The kids took care of seedlings at school for a couple of weeks before planting them in the community garden. Plus, Miss Nune had extra plants, so each kid could take one home. “That was a great activity!” she said, “because we talked about plants as living beings and the importance of nurturing them to keep them happy. Taking care of the plants made them feel capable and independent, regardless of their abilities.”
In September, they went to Miller’s Farm to learn more where food comes from. “The kids got to dig potatoes, and we talked about how potato chips coming from potatoes like those, they were amazed!” she said. And at the community garden they harvested cherry tomatoes and zucchini, “the garden was such a great way to teach them about colors, shapes and textures, plus they loved eating the cherry tomatoes!”
When the opportunity came about to have a cooking class with Slow Food Denver, as part of our Seed To Plate To Regenerate partnership program, Miss Nune was the first to schedule a visit. “It was great, although the instructors were nervous at first to work with 3 year-olds, they had a great time and the kids absolutely loved it!”
To close the gardening year, Miss Nune and her students planted garlic in the garden with the support from our Youth Ed team. “This was a great activity for the kids. We were able to work on our motor skills,” she said, “we worked with each child’s ability to help them dig a hole, plant the garlic clove with the pointy end up, cover it and then water it. They loved watering!”
“I’m so grateful for all the support from DUG! I love working with the Youth Ed team and I’m always eager to join any of the program activities they have to offer. It has been a great partnership,” said Miss Nune.
Our Youth Ed team has also enjoyed working with Miss Nune, her infectious energy and inspiring commitment to her students’ education fills our hearts. Thank you, Miss Nune!