Tiffany Kortbein, a kindergarten teacher at Greenvale Park Elementary School in Northfield, has received the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) 2020 Outstanding Teacher Award.
In her kindergarten class, Kortbein teaches about the lifecycles of animals, animal and farm vocabulary, and does hands-on work with students such as making butter and pizza from scratch. Kindergartners at Greenvale Park take annual field trips to a dairy farm and an apple orchard, and help to incubate chicken eggs and raise baby chicks.
“Making children aware of all the agriculture around them at such a young age will make them more aware as an adult,” she said. “Looking at things through a child’s eyes truly is through a different lens then that of an adult. Children are open to hearing new things, open to exploring with their hands, and seeing new perspectives.”
In addition to her teaching efforts with kindergarten students, Kortbein works to bring agricultural education into her school at all grade levels through an annual Farm Day celebration, creation of a school garden and annual school-wide celebration of the Great Lakes Apple Crunch.
She also conducts professional development opportunities for teachers at Greenvale Park so they can become more knowledgeable about agricultural education.
Kortbein will receive a $500 stipend and up to $1,500 in expenses to attend the 2020 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in June.