This past spring, CPCS began using more green space in the yard that wraps around part of the K-5 building. Through the efforts of a committee led by Coach Reilly, the space was transformed into what became known as the Garden Oasis.
The space was beautified with a clean up, planting beds, and a new wall mural that features scholar hand prints. Almost immediately teachers were seen enjoying their short lunch breaks in the Oasis sitting at picnic tables in the sun. In May, scholars planted vegetables that grew over the summer months while they were away.
When scholars returned in August they were delighted to see how much the carrots, peas, collard greens, peppers, string beans and pumpkins have grown.
“Each day gardeners come out and water the plants and help weed the garden beds to teach them responsibility and how plants grow. We are also teaching about a healthy and nutritious diet. By showing scholars healthy food choices they are able to include them in their own diets and bring that information into the community,” said Reilly.
Vegetables are not the only harvest that the school will benefit from this fall. ELL teacher Ms. Stanton will be using this wonderful hands on learning experience in an academic light. The scholars will be doing a sequence writing based upon the steps of how to grow the carrots. This project will help ELL scholars through use of language, including transition words and describing words.
Fourth grade team Ms. Brady and Mrs. Alexander is using the garden for a reflection paper. Scholars are learning about the geography of New York and are discovering what the local land can grow.
As short videos were captured of scholars pulling up the first carrots, their excitement was clear. For many of them, it was their first experience of working in a garden and learning how vegetables are grown. Principal Griffin loved seeing the joy scholars had while harvesting and learning new things.
“I was so excited to see our first vegetables harvested from the garden...carrots! Through the help of Coach Reilly and Ms. Stanton, scholars were able to have some as our crop was quite impressive. As students gathered the carrots, many asked about the growing pumpkins, collard greens, peppers and corn. It is our goal to create vegetable baskets for our scholars to take home. I am delighted to see the smiles on the staff and scholars faces when they are in the garden,” she said.
Thanks to Coach Reilly and the Garden Committee, generous hours from the staff, and donations from the community, the Garden Oasis is sure to bring a lot of life to the scholars of CPCS for years to come.