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Parent council co-chairs overwhelmed by support for school garden project
By Zachary Roman
It was 10 a.m. on the Saturday of a long weekend and the weather was gloomy: the perfect conditions for staying at home.
However, that was the opposite of what the James Bolton Public School community did on May 20. They all gathered at the school to begin the process of implementing their school community vegetable garden.
Students from Kindergarten to Grade 5, their parents, school staff, parent council representatives, and school trustees were all among those in attendance. All were ready to get their hands — or gardening gloves — dirty in helping to get the garden started.
First, grass had to be dug out of the rectangle marking where the vegetable garden would go.
Students took great pleasure in driving their spades into the dirt, and subsequently delivering the dirt and grass they dug up to a bin via a wheelbarrow.
Next, everyone worked together to level the garden. Students played a special role as they were asked to stamp down the dirt, heels first. To complete preparation of the vegetable garden, everyone brought fresh soil from a big pile back to the garden and leveled it out too.
Jennifer Alviano and Christine Nnawuchi, co-chairs of the Parent Council for James Bolton Public School, were both on hand to help implement the vegetable garden.
Alviano said in relation to the garden project, they reached out to all the parents of children in the school to let them know about the project, how it will benefit their children, and asked for their support.
Nnawuchi said the vegetable garden is going to be an amazing way to engage children in different ways of learning, and noted it will work perfectly in tandem with the new teaching kitchen at the school.
Alviano said she and Nnawuchi were overwhelmed by the support from the community for the garden project.
“We have a great parent community here, to see us all come together on a rainy morning on a long weekend, it's fantastic,” said Alviano, and Nnawuchi echoed the sentiment.
“Parents at our school are fully engaged with their children's education… it's a beautiful sense of community,” said Nnawuchi.
Alviano said gardening is a life skill that kids need to have and that there's lots of hands-on skills they'll develop through keeping a vegetable garden.
Alviano expressed her thanks to Matt McFarland of The Growing Season, a local landscaping company. She said he's been a great advocate for the project, and has donated a great deal of his time and materials to it. Alviano also thanked the principal and teachers at James Bolton Public School; Stan Cameron, Peel District School Board Trustee; and the Albion Hills Community Farm.
Cameron has been leading the implementation of vegetable gardens in all of Caledon's public schools as part of an ongoing project.
Kristina Mathews, principal of James Bolton Public School, was out digging in the dirt with her school community and commended the amazing efforts of all in attendance.
Mathews said experiential learning is very important to her; that she likes to see students apply what they learn in the classroom in real life contexts.
“Growing the seedlings… already (students) are excited about the process,” said Mathews. “These are skills they're going to be using for the rest of their lives.”
Mathews said it's clear her school community is very invested in the vegetable garden project and in the years to come, they hope to install some raised garden beds and expand the size of their garden.
Lindsey Miller, a teacher at James Bolton Public School, who has been raising worms with her class that will be used in the vegetable garden, said each day, a student turns over the soil in the worms' habitat, and students will feed the worms their apple cores and banana peels. She said it's a great lesson in composting and that her class has raised over 1,000 worms.
“This is the perfect opportunity to use them, the kids can know they're going to help the vegetables grow,” said Miller.
Post date: 2023-05-24 19:31:56
Post date GMT: 2023-05-24 23:31:56
Post modified date: 2023-05-24 19:31:59
Post modified date GMT: 2023-05-24 23:31:59
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