In the Summer of 2021, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will begin offering its new Elementary (P-5) Agricultural Endorsement to students. The endorsement will be the first of its kind in the country and will allow students the opportunity to teach AgEd in elementary schools all over Georgia. To earn the endorsement, students must take the three new classes that go along with it: Promoting Child Development & Learning, Curriculum Development, and Methods of Teaching in Elementary Agricultural Education.
A pilot program funded by Senate Bill 330 passed in 2018. It allowed for agricultural programs to be started in 19 elementary schools the first year, 26 schools the year after, and what would have been 27 participating schools this 2020-2021 school year had the COVID-19 epidemic not caused some schools to back out of the pilot program for the safety of the students.
A pilot program teacher, Ms. Julie Griner, a gifted teacher at Patterson County Elementary School, mentioned her thoughts on the new program, “The new Agricultural Education Program at ABAC will provide many wonderful opportunities not only for new Agricultural Education teachers but also for students all over Georgia. I believe that the earlier we can introduce children to their sources of food and fiber the more well-rounded their education will be.”
Ms. Griner also shared some of her memories from being part of the pilot program and the benefits students have gained. Many students became excited to read about agriculture and one activity involving measuring raised garden beds helped students understand measuring square feet in math. During her school’s celebration of National Peanut Day, older students learned about George Washington Carver, while younger students were able to pick peanuts to use in a math lesson.
The new AgEd Endorsement has already received lots of interest from across Georgia. After info was sent to 500 AgEd teachers in Georgia, 70 inquiries were received by ABAC regarding the new endorsement. A new beginning for Agricultural Education is just around the corner.