Guardian Angels Catholic School Garden
Our preschool through grade eight population includes primarily Latino children and youth from low-income homes. To integrate healthy eating, movement, science, math, literacy, art, and entrepreneurship into the curriculum, we constructed a school garden in fall, 2011, with spring, 2012, planting. By late summer and in 2013, there were vegetables to serve in the lunchroom after plentiful hands-on learning opportunities that have engaged about 250 participants each year.
One problem emerged: mulch covers the garden to retain moisture, but the lack of clear pathways meant that new seedlings and tiny perennials were trampled by eager children. Teachers struggled to keep children in walkways while teaching.
Goals - Increase experiential learning, food production, and soil health by:
- Laying concrete pavers that form visible pathways to guide footsteps, protect seedlings, and make garden teaching more manageable;
- Installing a small greenhouse to grow cold-weather crops and to start seeds early
- Constructing a compost bin to involve children in composting and building soil fertility
Who Benefits and How
Children’s Health: About 85% of our students qualify for Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Assistance. Obesity is prevalent in a food desert community where fresh foods are not readily available. Aims include: Reducing obesity and other health problems by a) linking diet and health during classroom instruction; b) motivating children to be physically active, eat, and enjoy vegetables they plant, tend, and harvest; c) increasing amount of garden produce for school lunches.
Children's Academics: Through hands-on learning, children solidify science and health concepts such as life cycles, roles of pollinators, water conservation strategies, and significance of soil fertility, plant nutrition, and seed-saving. Visual and language arts come to life through close observation, drawing, fiction and nonfiction composition, and creation of signage. Children take pride in beautifying and caring for their school yard.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA