Wednesday Field Trips in White Plains Are a Learning Experience

St. Matt’s Students Enjoy Open Air, Fresh Food at Market

Most Wednesday mornings during the summer, SWBOCES students at St. Matthew’s sample sweet and sour pickles, chimichurri on fresh bread, Tuscan fries, flavored honey and other goodies at the White Plains Farmer’s Market.

St. Matthew’s Principal Leslie Handler said the outings are fun and educational for the students. They learn to follow street signs and crosswalk directions, behave appropriately in public, ask questions about products, count money and make purchases.

“It’s all the skills that they really need to be learning,” Ms. Handler said.

Several classes walk to the market on Court Street first thing each Wednesday morning. Students who work as part of their St. Matt’s education stop at the bank beforehand to withdraw money for the market.

During a trip in late July, student Jilali Shareef bought some fresh pretzels, while peer Magali Rodriguez sampled some fries and a sweet pickle.

Thomas Stefanchik picked out six ears of corn that he planned to take home and share with his family. “I like buying these corn on the cobs,” he said.

Student Enzo Dent said he likes visiting the market and trying different foods. Some of his favorite products to sample and buy are seasoned French fries and chocolate chip muffins. Last week, he purchased a muffin and fries to take back to school.

Enzo said it’s important to patronize local markets. “We have to support the farmers.”

At the farmer’s market in early August, teacher Patrice Cookes discussed money with a student who wanted to buy something. “How much money do you have?” she asked. “This is $2.50. You don’t have enough, OK?”

Ms. Cookes’ class stayed for about a half hour, heading back when the summer heat and humidity started to wear on them.

Students often purchase food at the market that they prepare back St. Matt’s, Ms. Handler said. Earlier in the summer, they purchased lettuce and tomatoes and later used them for a taco lunch. They divided up the work of budgeting, finding a recipe, shopping at the farmer’s market and cooking so that each student played a role. Everyone got to eat a taco.

“It gives them the opportunity to learn about the different things for sale, identify the items and shop,” she said.