Developing a child as a whole is something we strive for at Holy Family School. Challenging our students outside the classroom is an important way of having them think “outside the box.”
This year, we introduced Environmental Design as an elective for our eighth graders. The purpose of the class is to design and build a school garden. Along with the actual garden set up and maintenance, there will be lessons on composting, worm farms, pollinators, pesticides (natural and chemical), soil composition and optimal pH, benefits of eating local, nutritional superiority of fresh picked vs shipped vegetables.
The class began the trimester with researching the benefits of gardening and having a school garden. They have evaluated potential garden sites and are working on a proposal for where the garden should be located as well as the layout. Along with the research comes the actual cost of materials to build their design and researching plants that will grow in our climate and that can be harvested before they graduate. All this allows them to visit other gardens and has helped them become aware of the gardens in their own community.
The eighth graders have gone on a field trip to talk with UC master gardeners about garden design, layout, and types of plants to grow. The students have a goal to finalize a design and location in the next couple of weeks so building can start in February. They will also start growing seeds in the classroom to plant at the end of February.
The eighth graders hope to be able to donate what they produce or have a fundraiser for what they have grown. This is also a great opportunity for them to invite the younger students at Holy Family School to teach them lessons on the benefits of gardening.