Garden Essay by Kathleen Greer's 3rd Grade Class at Los Ranchos Elementary (San Luis Obispo)
Imagine this... tall trees filled with bright yellow juicy lemons, green stalks of broccoli pushing through the ground, and bright red radishes. In my opinion, every school should have a school garden. A school garden is a wonderful place to learn outside, you get to eat what you grow, and you can be a social butterfly.
The school garden is a great place to learn. Garden class taught us all about the water cycle. For example, we were taught about permeable and impermeable. Permeable means that water
can go through the surface. Impermeable means water cannot go through the surface so it runs off. Therefore, I learned about how the water that runs off flows to different places. The Water Drops game taught us how water flows in nature. I also found out what happens to water in a city when we used the city water model. I now can look at my garden to see how the water is moving and I can find ways to make my own garden even better. I learned how to care of nature and what is in nature. Do you want a beautiful garden? Garden class teaches us the difference between weeds and plants. You will never mistake a plant for a weed again.
I think that learning outside can help kids see what they are learning about nature. You can grow things in the school garden and then you can eat them. Many different fruits and vegetables are grown in the school garden. When they were done growing, students could eat
them. Our students got to grow broccoli and cauliflower. I learned how to make lemonade with the lemons from the school garden. It was fun to grow and eat things that I have never grown or eaten before. Now I know tomatoes are not veggies they are fruits. I also was taught how to plant seeds so animals can’t get them. When something is ripe, I know when I can pick it. I learned what a weed looks like so I don’t pull them and theneat them. I was taught how to hose things off right so there is no germs on it when I eat it. I got to put chili powder and lemon
onto lettuce to make it yummy. There are many things in the school garden that I can grow and then eat.
With your friends, you can be social in the school garden.One way is garden lunch. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can go to the garden for your 45-minute lunchtime. Students can eat lunch in the garden with a friend of their choice. There are fun activities, such as planting, watering, and so much more. Another reason you should go to the garden with your friends is that you can plant food, take it home, and share it with your family. You can make lemonade and talk with your friends while doing it because, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade.” While I was in the garden, I made a bouquet and had lots of fun doing it with my friends. Once you cut up something like a mushroom or a carrot, you get to eat it. Everyone should do it because if you ever had a garden you would be an expert because you already had experience. In addition, you can make new friends at the garden lunch along with the staff. The best part about the garden is that you can hang out in the garden with your friends. The worst part about the garden is that you have to leave.
In conclusion, you and your friends can be social in the garden and you will always have fun!
I bet you can’t imagine your school without a school garden! Can’t you see people picking lemons out of tall trees, broccoli being enjoyed by students, and bright red radishes being washed? In a school garden, you can learn many things, there are foods to grow and then eat, and you can be social with friends and teachers. A beautiful school garden can simply brighten up your day, so convince your school to get a school garden today!
by Danica Smith, FoodCorps Garden Educator Manager
Much of public school is focused on academic achievement, and for various reasons emotions don’t often receive due attention. Emotions are not an inconvenience, but a way to help us reflect, slow down, learn, and heal. How does a school garden support emotional intelligence in children? School gardens are spaces of abundance, life, beauty, edible treats, creatures, tools, and learning in an untraditional setting where process is honored. In the garden one cannot rush a plant to grow. Everything is accepted how it is, how it looks, how it grows differently from the plant next to it. As a Garden Educator Manager (GEM), I adopt this principle into how the children grow. I want to see, hear, honor all their diverse dreams, fears, problems and emotions. Gardens give time for the diversity and education of real, intense human experiences that children are going through, just like the adults of their world and I get to be that caring, consistent adult that respects them. It is a privilege to elevate students in their journey of life.
Sometimes if a student is having an intense moment or an emotional outburst, I stop and say, “Wow, thank you for being so brave to share your feelings with me/us, that must have taken a lot of courage.” Acknowledging the realness of their emotions, and validating them is important. Then, depending on the group dynamic or activity, I can either find a way to have face to face time with that child, or I can turn it into a learning and connecting moment for the whole group, myself included. Listening to them, I can help identify or label emotions and actions we may wanna do when we feel a certain way, i.e. “I’m so mad I want to hit my friend or slam the garden gate!” All emotions are acceptable, but not all behaviors are. I aid in solution oriented, safe and effective ways that particular child can express their anger/sadness/boredom/etc. while in the school garden, with the hopes this self-regulation will permeate past the garden fence. Gardens add a space, atmosphere, and toolkit for developing and working with emotions, adding a much needed resource to our public schools. If gardens become more endemic in school communities, like the computer lab, math and the library, then social emotional intelligence education can flourish.
Quick tools for students to learn emotional intelligence within the garden:
One Cool Earth
where every child deserves a place to grow.