Ocean Avenue School Couryard Garden
Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Portland, Maine, is a new school, having first opened our doors in 2011, and having just begun transforming our school grounds into workable garden spaces. Our first major step is a Courtyard Garden (see attached design), which with assistance from students and community volunteers we began building in late September 2013 (see attached photos). In Spring 2014, we hope to begin using our Courtyard Garden as an Outdoor Classroom, incorporating the principles of sustainable, organic gardening into our curricula by obtaining the tools, materials and plants necessary to make that possible, and by working with faculty in designing and implementing appropriate teaching plans. Through hands-on outdoor learning, we hope to give our students a better understanding of the life cycle and their role in it: how their nutrition and well-being are linked to the nutrition and well-being of the other life forms right outside their classroom windows.
Our Courtyard Garden is designed to be both a place of relaxation, with paths and seating for students at recess to quietly reflect upon the life around them, and a place of instruction, with different informal raised beds dedicated to different grade levels, where each grade can grow food and ornamental plants. As our school is divided into four wings, each with a different environmental theme (ocean, farm, mountain, and forest), we hope to be able to teach principles of habitat by incorporating our four school themes into the plants that we grow in our gardens.
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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