“Is the garden open today?” asked a student as his classmates got ready for recess. Three mornings a week, all students have the option to spend recess reading or drawing around the garden. A small core of students faithfully water the garden and help with planting, pruning and picking.
Belvedere School has had an indoor garden for quite a while. As long time members of the Little Green Thumb garden program, the school is provided with four large planters, a powerful overhead light and the soil, fertilizer and seeds to grow an indoor garden. The teacher contact attends training and has the support of the program facilitator. Originally, our garden was grown and tended in the grade 1 class but this year we decided to try having the garden in a more central location - the library! It is accessible to all students throughout the day and is the focal point of a quiet alternative to outdoor recess.
Some of our students have difficulty completing regular home reading so having a pleasant location to do some much needed reading, either independently or with a buddy is another plus of a school garden. Other students need a break from the busyness of the school day or are experiencing some challenges at recess. What better way to calm down and relax than at the side of a lush garden filled with tasty treats?
All of the students are fascinated by the growing process. Some have gardening connections within their families and others have never had a chance to help with a garden. Regardless of their experience, they all are excited to see the vegetables developing and very few can resist a nice red tomato or a tasty pea shoot!
Our school garden is an important meeting place and learning experience for our students and we are fortunate to have.