Preparing Students to Successfully Navigate a Dynamic World
- District 45
Harvest is Plentiful at Schafer School’s Community Garden
“This tastes awesome!” are not the three words that most parents hear their child enthusiastically exclaiming after taking a huge bite of salad. However, those three words were exactly the ones used at Schafer School as students happily devoured salads in their classrooms.
Two years ago, Action For Healthy Kids (AFHK) awarded a grant to the school. That first year, the conservation club, comprised of roughly 30 students, were highly involved. Last school year Ruth Toyama, the school nurse at Schafer, spoke with AFHK about health and nutrition and was looking for fun ways to connect with more students about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Through these conversations, it was decided to provide all the school’s second and third graders the opportunity to plant a community garden. Students helped decide what would be grown and in May of 2019, the seeds were planted.
Fast forward to late August 2019 and after a summer of parent and student volunteers tending to the garden, students are being rewarded for their dedication and care. The garden, appropriately named Veggie Land, thrived and has provided an abundance of vegetables including lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, and tomatoes.
After picking vegetables, Mrs. Toyama brings them home, washes them, sorts them, and carefully prepares them for students to enjoy in the form of salad.
Edith Rivera, principal at Schafer mentioned that, “a school garden provides hands-on learning experiences in a variety of subjects. I have heard conversations related to climate, geography, animals, measurement, and even proper nutrition, all taking place right in our garden. It’s quite extraordinary! The real-life experiences contribute greatly to students’ comprehension and retention of new knowledge.”
Students are offered a wonderful opportunity to explore beyond their classroom walls and connect with nature. It’s hard work, and it takes dedication to cultivate a garden. Students can be a part of understanding what it feels like to harvest the fruits of their labor in a very positive way. Not to mention, students are learning valuable lessons about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.