Elementary school students learn many lessons in the school garden, and they have fun doing it too! From planting to harvest, students learn about plant life, nutrition, science, math, and working together.
“I don’t know what kind of tomato it is, but it’s green and delicious,” said eight year old Dior Clary, holding an heirloom tomato the size of a baseball in her hands.
Dior returned to harvesting from the school garden and her teacher, Valerie Alchier, filled up a bucket with beans, kale, and other produce picked by students at Woodland Hills’ Fairless Elementary School.
There are many lessons that a garden can teach, and Ms. Alchier, a learning support teacher for grades 1-4, wanted her students to enjoy the full benefits of the activity.
“I wanted to do the type of project with my kids that would be hands-on, would be a fun activity [and] something they could really get into.”
From the looks on these kids’ faces, she has met her goal. Michael Finfrock, 8, couldn’t wait to pick a golden ground cherry and share its sweet flavor with a visitor.
The journey actually started two years ago at the North Braddock school. Ms. Alchier grew seedlings with her students and then donated them to community organizations. Last year, she decided to create a vegetable garden in a huge space behind the school that contained colorful park benches and not much more. She applied for and received a $2,000 grant from the Whole Kids Foundation that she used to build raised beds and get everything else needed to make a garden. With the grant came lots of organic seeds, which were supplemented with seed she saved from her own heirloom tomatoes.
The novice gardener needed to figure out which of the seeds would be best for the students.