Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Teacher's Perspective

BCHMCPS students lend a hand

The Garden kick-off day was here! I was so excited to be participating in such an important event for our school community. When I arrived at our school I was amazed to see a group of workers already totally engaged in their tasks, working side-by-side, embracing the effort and spirit of the day. Students, staff, parents, and community members worked together with support, laughter, joy, and a true feeling of equal partnership as they labored together, helping each other to create such an important gift for our school and community family.

As I walked around taking photographs, I was struck by the power of the collaboration I was fortunate enough to witness. Students from all grade levels were represented in the effort, working together, forming new friendships, sharing their excitement about working in the garden, talking about what they might like to plant. Students were everywhere – working at the craft table, raking woodchips, shoveling topsoil, spreading mulch, helping to herd the goats, and so much more! Kindergarteners with third graders, students forming new connections, our school family strengthening and connecting as we shared the common goal of building a garden.

I was also struck by the connections being made by parents and community members. Everywhere I looked there were people who were once strangers, now working side-by-side, chatting, getting to know each other, supporting and helping each other, and extending their own ties to our school family. New friendships were sprouting along with the raised beds. It was becoming apparent to me that this garden would be growing so much more than produce. When people who were once strangers saw each other at school, they would now be familiar faces.

As an educator, I was struck by the amazing opportunities that garden project was providing us with. Virtually every core subject could be explored through the garden experience – keeping journals, charting growth, writing reflections, reading and researching information about plantings, creating artistic responses to the experience, and so much more. The possibilities were endless, and tremendously exciting.

Finally, I was struck by the power a project has to create a common ground, bringing together a diverse group of people to work on an equal footing, unifying people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, from all ages. I was truly moved to see the unity fostered by people working shoulder-to-shoulder in an effort to create a unique place of growth, nurturing, and harmony for our children and our community. Thank you to everyone who worked so thoughtfully and diligently to create our special place of growth and education. It will be a permanent symbol of what a community can do when they come together as one.

--Mrs. Keenan

Teacher of the Multi-Age Class at BCHMCPS

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