MCSES held a family gardening event last month to clean up the courtyard garden area and get it ready for winter and spring. Several families volunteered their time on Saturday, November 13, 2021, despite the rainy weather.
“We cleared out and topped off our garden boxes with compost, prepared our pumpkin patch for spring and painted decorative garden rocks,” said Mrs. Mort, who teaches STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math).
Students and families helped plant hundreds of flowers, including 750 bulbs that will bloom from early spring to early summer. They planted tulips, daffodils, windflowers, irises and 25 other types of flower bulbs around the school.
“We also planted hundreds of sunflower and lupine seeds, as well as a variety of wildflowers like asters and Queen Anne’s lace,” said Mrs. Mort.
Third-grader Angelo S. said the compost was “gross” but he still loved shoveling. Other students enjoyed finding worms and rocks in the dirt.
“Not only did students get to learn about gardening, but it was an opportunity for them to learn more about responsibility and teamwork, and it provided a connection with the school beyond academics that they were able to enjoy with their families,” said Dr. Hernandez, one of the associate principals at MCSES. “Mrs. Mort worked extremely hard to get donations for our garden and she did an outstanding job coordinating this successful event.”
Dr. Hernandez believes the school garden has many benefits for our students.
“Working in the garden gets kids outside and involves them in the beautification of our school,” she said. “The garden’s central location in the courtyard allows everyone in the school to enjoy it, even if it’s just a glance out the window while walking by.”
“Gardening also teaches children about nutrition and physical health, and it promotes mental health and well-being,” Dr. Hernandez continued. “I truly believe in the benefits of gardening to help manage anger, anxiety, and other negative emotions that even our elementary school children often experience. Plus, they get to enjoy new ‘home-grown’ fruits and vegetables.”
The school garden provides many opportunities for collaboration across different subjects and grade levels. Students can learn about math, science, nutrition, health, art and more while working in the garden.
Earlier this fall, Mrs. Mort’s STEAM classes learned about pollination while working in the pumpkin patch. Back in the classroom, they pretended to be butterflies, a common pollinator, and used straws to move “pollen” from flower to flower.