Webinar—Join a New Early Childhood Nutrition and STEM Collaborative

Led by GrowingGreat, early childhood educators have joined forces and are reinventing STEM programs to address the lack of access to fresh produce and green space for under-resourced families.


Click here to watch this archived webinar in
ASTC’s Professional Development Video Library.


This webinar from November 9, 2018, features four programs that you can use at your institution, presented by the science center and museum staff who developed and implemented them

  • Explore Your World, where children ages 3–6 from local public housing engage in fun, hands-on STEAM activities and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables together (Creative Discovery Museum, Chattanooga, Tennessee)
  • Garden Gourmet – Snack Pack, in which children experiencing homelessness participate in growing and eating healthy foods in the Seedlings Greenhouse and Sun Sprouts Kids Garden (Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh, North Carolina)
  • Play with Your Food, ten hands-on STEM and nutrition activities in English and Spanish that you can adapt to your program needs (GrowingGreat)
  • The Promise Garden, a new inner-city community garden with activities for preschoolers, caregivers, and their families (The Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Watch and

  • discover how easy it is to incorporate nutrition education and healthy snacks into their own early childhood programs and why it matters
  • find out how garden and nutrition activities are being implemented in diverse settings
  • receive 10 take-home garden/nutrition activities you can use at your organization, or with partner preschools, in Spanish and English, for teachers and parents, that include STEM and literacy connections

The My First Garden collaborative is funded by Astellas USA Foundation.

We hope you’ll be inspired to join the collaborative—there are no charges or membership requirements, only a willingness to share.


Audience: This webinar is designed for science center, museum, cultural institutions, and out-of-school professionals from all career levels, particularly those working in education, early childhood education, school programs, outreach programs, public programs, and external collaborations/partnerships.


Fee: There is no fee for this webinar.



Jill Coons, Director of Education at GrowingGreat in Los Angeles, California, came to the organization in 2012 with a background in sustainable gardens, youth nutrition, and volunteer and business coordination. She oversees garden and nutrition curriculum development and designed and implements GrowingGreat’s Afterschool and Junior Chefs programs.


Hardin Engelhardt, Vice President of Play Experience at Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh, North Carolina, is responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of programs, education initiatives, and community partnerships at Marbles Kids Museum. She also oversees Marbles STEM initiatives and events.


Mariah Romaninsky, Senior Manager of STEM Programs at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a former middle-school science teacher and works with the school district and local educational organizations to ensure that all Philadelphia students, preK through high school, have access to high-quality science education.


Erin Townley, Early Childhood Manager at Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, teaches parent-child classes, plans events filled with multisensory activities for toddlers and preschoolers, conducts teacher workshops, and runs a kindergarten readiness awareness program.


This webinar is moderated by Jennifer Jovanovic, Executive Director of GrowingGreat. With a staff of three, she oversees everything at GrowingGreat, a small (but mighty) nonprofit that helps kids, families, and teachers in low-income communities discover the science and fun of healthy eating and growing the things we eat. She is also Leader of the ASTC Early Childhood Community of Practice and previously spent seven years as the Director of the Saint Louis Science Center’s Science Beyond the Boundaries network.



Questions? Contact ASTC’s Wendy Hancock.



Wendy Hancock is ASTC’s Senior Program Manager, Professional Development.



Updated November 14, 2018.



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