Over the last eight years, all four of my kids have been fortunate to attend the same K-8 school. My older ones have now moved on to a different middle school and high school but my younger two are still there.
The school is located out in the country and is surrounded on three sides by vineyards and farmland. It is about as idyllic a setting as you could possibly find for a school.
What really sets this special place apart, however, is its mandate to operate as an Ag/Tech School. With a strong focus on agriculture and the accompanying technology typically found in farming, the school provides a different spin on education.
Most elementary schools have a garden. Our school has multiple large gardens and vineyards on the property! There is an outdoor classroom and kitchen. Students are able to plant seeds in their individual class gardens, learn about soil and water and photosynthesis, then harvest their plants, prepare and eat them. Start to finish!
The gardens are extensive enough that multiple classes can be out there having lessons, weeding, harvesting and simply walking around without stepping on each others toes.
I know that personally, I find that I am calmer and able to think better after getting my hands in the dirt, whether the work be weeding or planting. When my oldest son was in third grade and really struggling with math, his teacher would regularly have him take a break from classwork to go out to the garden and work. Imagine if every child at school had that same opportunity? Can you imagine the stress relief that would provide for these young brains already filled to the brim with “stuff”?! Can you imagine how great it would be to have your classroom literally be in a giant garden?
Luckily for our kids, this is their school reality. Years ago when Simon was entering kindergarten, I discovered this school and as soon as I stepped foot inside I KNEW this was where my kids needed to attend. The place just felt special and really different even from other schools in our district. We have watched the campus expand over the years to accommodate more kids and boundary changes but the best expansions have been with these gardens. For many of these students, the garden and vineyards are their classrooms and backyards rolled into one.
Do your kids have a garden at their school? If so, are they pretty hands on about maintaining it? Did you have a school garden when you were in school?