Kathleen Elementary’s garden began as an idea by Danielle Emmons, Science Coach, to extend the classroom beyond the walls of the building. She wanted to integrate experiential learning opportunities for the 4th grade Science classes.
As a member of the Polk School and Community Garden Association, Kathleen Elementary received resources to support the garden project. The students worked together to build the raised beds and plant the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant transplants using the square foot gardening method. As the 4th grade garden flourished, students measured and recorded plant growth, compared and contrasted flowering plants, and weighed and logged the garden harvests. During a garden harvest one student shared “I didn’t know eggplant were purple.” Another student asked Ms. Emmons “what are we going to do with all of the vegetables?”
Ms. Emmons realized the garden not only enriched the Science curriculum, but she could also capitalize on the opportunity to have students sample their garden harvest. She enlisted the help of Ms. Collins, Kathleen Elementary’s Cafeteria Manager. Using the japanese eggplant harvested from the garden, Ms. Collins prepared eggplant parmesan for Ms. Caballero’s 4th grade class tasting. A couple of weeks later, the 4th grade students had the opportunity to taste two varieties of peppers and tomatoes harvested from the garden. Ms. Emmons reported the students were excited and willing to taste all the vegetables from the garden.