Amazing things happen when organizations come together in support of learning and this is especially true with the partnership between Barnet School and the King Arthur Flour, Bake for Good; Kids Learn, Bake, Share Program.

Barnet School is a Vermont Rural Partnership (VRP) school, an organization where hands-on, place-based learning are integral components of its program. Recently, the school was awarded a VRP grant that allowed the community to construct a bread oven to compliment the large garden, chicken coop, outdoor classrooms and nature trail network that were already a part of its campus and curriculum. In early research, teachers learned of the King Arthur Flour (KAF), Bake for Good; Kids Learn, Bake, Share program. In Bake for Good, KAF educators demonstrate how to make a yeast bread from scratch, donate materials for students to make their own bread and then invite participants to pay-it-forward by asking them to donate a portion of the bread that they make to local organizations of their choosing.

Barnet School signed on as a KAF Bake for Good partner in August 2014 and by September, the seventh- and eighth-grade students had completed their Learn, Bake, Share program. School and KAF staff decided that the oldest students were going to pilot implementation, a necessary step as Barnet School was the first school partner to ever make and bake the Bake for Good bread on site using an outdoor, wood-fired bread oven, and then mentor younger students while they participated in the program.

On the inaugural "Day of Bread," 47 seventh- and eighth-grade students collaborated with each other and staff to make bread using the KAF wheat bread recipe, as well as research and vote on an organization to donate a portion of the bread to. The group decided that they would donate half of their bread to Umbrella, a local not-for-profit organization that helps women and families in need.

Students were very creative with their efforts to make and shape the loaves and elaborate braids and personalized designs ensued. When the oven was ready, loaves were brought outside and baking commenced. It took about 90 minutes to bake the 100 loaves of bread in the wood-fired, outdoor bread oven, whose temperature can surpass 1000° F. The loaves were brought back into the classroom, allowed to cool and packaged up. This was a very successful first effort which left older students satisfied and prime to be leaders and facilitators in program implementation with younger students.

With a little experience under their belts, middle grades students were set to help KAF staff present the Bake for Good program to Barnet students in grades three through six. Two students were randomly selected from the many volunteers to demonstrate how to make bread dough during an hour-long assembly. The KAF program was impressive, and well-received by Barnet School. KAF staff were equally impressed by Barnet School itself.

Pam Jensen, program presenter, offered the following feedback after the presentation, "Students did a great job as my assistants. They followed directions well and their baking knowledge was very helpful. They did an excellent job demonstrating baking skills to your students. Your students were very respectful and had great answers to my questions. All of the KAF instructors that visited the school were very impressed by the assembly behavior of your students."

Approximately one dozen middle grades students recently supported the 40 fifth and sixth graders in making and baking their loaves of bread. One half of the this bread was donated to the Barnet School Community Meal, which is slated to take place on March 24. This dough was frozen and will be baked in the bread oven in advance of this event. The other portion of the dough was shaped, baked and shared with students themselves, warm from the oven.

The King Arthur Flour, Bake for Good; Kids Learn, Bake, Share program is responsible for expanding and strengthening community connections as students collaborate with each other, and outside organizations in baking. This program is instilling transferable and catalytic skills in students, such as patience, problem-solving, applications in measurement and conversion and philanthropy.

The Barnet School is actively brainstorming ways to develop self-sustaining baking capacity, potentially made possible by bake-and-take fundraisers or community pizza-movie nights and is keen to establish a pool of motivated volunteers to help fire the oven on baking days. Please contact the Barnet School with ideas, or to volunteer, 633-2307.


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