Kids Klub brings hydroponics to after-school program

Kids Klub brings hydroponics to after-school program

WOONSOCKET - A collaboration between the Woonsocket Education Department, Kids Klub and Acopia Harvest has given elementary school students a chance to witness plant and vegetable growth even in the middle of winter.

Kids Klub Inc., a non-profit before- and after-school program, is introducing what's described as an affordable, manageable and sustainable hydroponic system known as The Green Machine.

This new partnership hopes to educate children about the importance of eating healthy.

The first of these Green Machines has been placed in Kids Klub's kindergarten room at Governor Pothier Elementary School in Woonsocket as a part of the program's curriculum, use of the kit can be applied to a variety of subjects including math, biology, health, literacy, and science.

Said Amy Chauvin, director of Operations for Acopia Harvest International, "Our mission takes on a whole new approach by not only promoting a culture of sustainability, but re-envisioning ways in which to conserve, convert and revive,

Said Giovanna Donoyan, superintendent of Woonsocket schools, "As part of this new program, our system will engage children using a wide range of subjects including biology, technology, nutrition and science so that they can, in turn, positively impact future generations.

"My idea for the collaboration between Woonsocket Education Department and Kids Klub Extended School Learning Programs for the hydroponics system stemmed from the importance of students being involved in a hands-on learning experience that they can utilize throughout their lives."

The students will be using the metric system to feed, maintain and care for the plants all while measuring their growth. Each day, the students will add nutrients to the plants, as well as regulate the pH balance of the water using a solution provided by Acopia.

"The hope is that the children will get excited about the hands-on program and be able to take away important educational lessons about health and wellness," said Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, CEO of Kids Klub, Inc. "It's so very important to teach students at a young age about eating healthy foods. With the hydroponic system in the classroom the students will watch and track the lettuce growth right before their eyes, thus having access to lettuce to make their own personal salads."

Acopia, of Central Falls, introduced The Green Machines this past summer. With this innovative system, no soil is needed. "I want the students to take the lessons learned from our systems and use them in the future, whether it is building something useful or growing vegetables at home," Chauvin said. "We believe this hydroponics program will have positive and far-reaching benefits for the state of Rhode Island."