School Garden Brings Learning to Life

pm126_600Come along on a tour with team-teachers Glenda Berliner and Jeralyn Wilson, as they show us their elementary school garden bearing many fruits. It’s an important part of the curriculum: children make mason bee boxes, grow colonial medicinal plants, learn of other cultures, and put science to work. It builds community: parents work together, students form a bucket brigade to transport wood chips. It’s a site for celebrations like a pumpkin harvest or a play. Whether it’s the flower and vegetable beds, or the restful Zen garden, the garden is a favorite place to be, and to grow from. Episode 126. [vashonsd.wednet.edu/chautauqua/index.cfm]

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  1. Iselin Celestine says:

    Wow. How much thought Glenda and Jeralyn put into all aspects of their teaching/learning curriculum. Their dedication to the children is evident. And the garden seems so central (as they once were?) to school community life. Greatly inspired by the simple effectual design and materials of the water catchment roof and the potential it has as a model–not only for school structures but for homes, businesses, and public buildings as well. It is interesting to note in the few years since Stuart wrote the above that farming has become increasingly desirable as an occupation to many young people in their 20′s and beyond–though an uneven experience. Yet with continued social, ecological, economic, and other changes unfolding…

  2. I really admire the Japanese who often have school gardens in the elementary schools. Many grow plants right in the classroom along the windowsill.

    But I think these gardens are seen more as a science project than a serious attempt to show children where their food comes from. I sometimes teach names of professions in my English classes. I am always disappointed by the few hands that are raised when I ask, “Who wants to be a farmer?” I guess I teach mainly in urban schools where the children don’t relate to agriculture very much.

    Hokkaido is the agricultural heartland of Japan. Most of the rice, corn and potatoes come from here. Dairy farming is also big. Yet, I read in the papers that the farmers are all getting old and their kids aren’t interested in farming. The farmers complain they don’t earn enough money either. I see many abandoned farm houses with fields overgrown with weeds. Japan is 100% dependent on imported oil. I suspect the high cost of diesel is making farming less profitable.

    I try to convey this message in my talks with the Japanese children. I proudly tell them I came to school by bicycle so the Japanese farmers will have fuel for their tractors. The price of oil going down again sure makes that a hard sell!

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