This year, Stone Harbor Elementary School was able to expand our garden program. The
Garden of Kindness brings our school, families, and community together. Our parent/teacher group helps to run the after school garden club with a local master gardener, our teachers partner to take students into the garden for various activities, and the staff chips in keeping our garden in shape. The AtlantiCare grant enabled us to build a garden program that creates more opportunities for collaboration. It encouraged our students to learn and play outside and encouraged our teachers to create lessons that put the classroom in the garden and brought the garden into the classroom. It also gave the students a common goal each class was invested in making sure the plants were taken care of and the garden was well kept. Collectively, we were able to plant a variety of peppers, lettuce, cabbage, brussel sprouts, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, and various herbs.
We added a composting bin in the cafeteria to promote garden activity throughout the building and kitchen tools to enable us to share the produce. Our teachers also worked together to plan yoga in the garden with picture books, build bat houses, bird baths, bird feeders and spend time teaching classes outdoors. Paul Gallagher, the Health and Physical Education teacher, who coordinates our garden activity, said “It’s good to see the kids in a different light and for the students to have the opportunity to learn something completely different.” Kelly McCorristin, school librarian, shares this sentiment, “By taking lessons into the garden, we’re promoting a different way of learning, promoting healthy eating, and teaching valuable skills. It’s fun to see the students learning without realizing they are learning!” Second Grade teacher, Karen Lauth, states “I love incorporating the garden into my lesson plans. It allows me to engage my students in learning by providing them with hands-on experience with nature. The garden also encourages them to eat healthier and try new things. In the fall, we made mint and lemon flavored water with the herbs we planted. It was awesome!”
Stone Harbor Elementary is committed to growing our healthy kids program and looking forward to spending time in our continuously growing garden!