Today started with an informational and interesting talk about school gardens by Toni, who has successfully implemented her own garden at the secondary school that she works at. This was excellent, because we learned about the practical side of starting and maintaining a school garden; as student teachers who are new to this, I think it was really valuable and pertinent information. I now have a much better idea of what is involved in the process. We talked about start-up costs (and how/where to apply for grants and raise funding), what is needed to start a garden (e.g. tools, seeds, volunteers, materials, etc.), necessary paperwork and application forms, different ways to design a garden and thought about the sort of things we should plant depending on climate/location/time of year, etc.
We then did an activity where we were able to draw a map of our own garden design that we would like. I would personally like to have a garden that also has green spaces and benches where students can sit and enjoy their surrounding. Each person also brainstormed ideas of how they could adapt their teachable subject(s) to the garden, this way incorporating outdoor learning into the curriculum. For example, my teachable is French which I believe lends itself quite well to being in the garden – a few ideas I had while doing this activity were using the garden to learn new French vocabulary, learning about French culture through the garden (French foods that we could make with what we grow, or even learning about famous French gardens such as the painter Monet’s garden, which is a much-loved attraction in France), using the garden as inspiration to write poems in French, as a space to present French plays (which I did during my practicum), learning about the changing seasons in French, amongst many other possibilities. I was impressed by how many ideas everyone had relating to their own subjects (such as Math, Art, English, Biology, Home Economics, etc).
After lunch we did some work in the Orchard garden, which included harvesting carrots, lots of weeding, and planting vegetables such as beets! There was also some kale-tasting, and lots of happy conversations about the possibilities that gardens bring to schools. It was a great way to wrap up the day!