Thanks to Burpee Home Gardens and the “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award, West End IB World School students, teachers and parents had another successful gardening season!
This past April, students planted a variety of tomatoes, eggplant, okra, green beans, zucchini, watermelon, basil, parsley and peppers, and were diligent about watering and caring for their newly planted garden. Although the summer was hot, our new garden continued to thrive thanks to the families and teachers who volunteered to tend to the garden while school was out.
Since our students returned on August 1, they’ve enjoyed exploring the garden to see what veggies and herbs are growing, discovering which bugs have taken up residence in the raised beds and sampling fresh produce. For many of our students, tasting a vine-ripened tomato or a basil leaf has been a first-time experience. It’s fun to hear their comments and, more often than not, the students like what they taste and are eager to share the news with their families. We even had pesto for sale at our Back to School orientation made with school-grown basil. This was an excellent way to introduce the garden to new and returning families and raise money as well!
Do we consider the garden an asset to our school? Absolutely! The garden has been a positive feature that has impressed many families. It’s exciting to see teachers and students milling around in the garden measuring and observing insects, learning about healthy food groups, making healthy food choices and working together to prepare recipes. The garden is an invaluable educational tool for our teachers that spans all subject matter and can be tied into the state’s curriculum standards.
This year, our goal is to encourage teachers to adopt the garden as their outdoor classroom. The garden is, after all, the perfect classroom for every subject. In the garden, our students connect with their natural world in a stress-free environment where they can wonder, inquire, explore, communicate, think and reflect. There is a lot growing in our school garden!