“The school garden has provided a number of obvious benefits to the students and staff at Ossington Old Orchard Public School. In particular, it has taught the students of OOOPS to be more aware of the need to care for their environment. They see where their food comes from and realize the importance of keeping their earth clean and healthy. I have seen this increased awareness of the need for environmental stewardship in my students when they actually volunteer to pick up garbage, for example. This is not something students usually volunteer to do! As another example, we also see the students staying on the paths in the garden to protect its plants. Overall, I have seen my students become very invested in the success of the garden.
The garden has connections to so much of what our students learn in school such as Soil and Plant studies, Environmental Stewardship and Math. Participating in the garden project makes learning fun and authentic. It also gives students inspiration for writing and Art projects. It gets them outdoors enjoying nature and also promotes healthy eating and develops an interest in sustainable food production methods. The students here at OOOPS are so excited to see new growth in the garden and this excitement increases their appetite for healthy produce grown in the garden. It’s amazing to see how many greens they’ll eat when they’ve just harvested them from the garden. For example, when we made garden pesto, most students were asking for 5 or 6 servings. They loved it!
The garden has also brought students of different ages together. Older students explore the garden with younger students. They talk about what’s growing in the garden and harvest the vegetables together. At other times students, parents and staff cook and eat together – brought together by the shared caretaking of the garden. The garden project is building a greater sense of community!” —Dione Holmes (Teacher at OOOPS)
“I can’t begin to express how much the garden means to me as a teacher and as a parent. I get such joy out of going to the garden with my students and exploring what is coming up next or what has just sprouted or what is about to grow soon. We have had a wonderful time planning, planting, watching the growth, harvesting and eating in our garden. There are countless ways to integrate the garden into my daily lessons and overall long range planning. Every subject can be discussed using the garden as a teaching tool. It makes my job more fun and I truly believe it makes the learning so much more enriching and meaningful to the students. I love seeing students walk over to the bean patch at recess and grab a snack. It is very rewarding to see students who were balking at the idea of eating pesto beg to have seconds and thirds.
I am very proud of what we have accomplished so far. The garden is a part of everyone’s learning. Students have been exposed to a variety of food related topics through the library but also with their classroom teachers. Team planning with respect to the garden was such a success last year, we have decided to take a whole-school, cross-curricular approach to discuss and integrate social justice issues and access to good food – team planning, cross curricular.
Finally, as a parent, I get so much pleasure bringing my own children throughout the summer to track the progress of the plants and to watch my kids gobble up the raspberries, beans, peas, cucumbers and more. The garden really is a gift to the students, parents, staff and community.” —Liz Lundy (teacher at OOOPS)
“I love our garden because the flowers are beautiful, the ground cherries are sweet, a lot of butterflies come to visit…”—Bethany, age 9
“My favourite thing about the school garden is when we grow the plants in our class. The school garden made me make a garden in my new house!”—Leo, age 9
“This summer I picked cherry tomatoes and my mom made sauce. It was the most amazing sauce I ever had.”— William, age 10
“I like to have chive eating contests with my friends.”—Jacob, age 10
“I like the tomatoes – they are sweet. I picked them with my mom and my auntie.”—Eda, almost 5
“I like the garden because it inspired me to do my own garden at home. I planted two bean plants and they are growing! I also had fun planting pumpkins with my sister after school and we watered them. I like cooking and we planted plants that can be used to cook for the whole school.” —Emily, age 10
“The garden provides us with a lot of food. I like to protect the garden and the trees, too. I saw another kid pulling on a tree branch and I said No! and asked them to stop.”—Daniela, age 9
“I love being on the Eco Team since it’s fun to put the compost in the bin outside. It’s fun to be in charge of it! I love the ground cherries and I love love love the red currents.”—Avery, age 10
“In the summer, me and my mom bike rided past the school and tried the strawberries; they were really good. My mom tried the tomatoes, which were sweet. We looked at all of the garden and we were looking for celery. We should plant that next year!”—Sadie, age 9
“I planted peppers!” Roman, age 5
“ I like the tomatoes – they taste yummy and sweet. I also like the flowers.”—Maeve, age 6
“I like the flowers to sniff and the fruits to pick. Strawberries are good for you.”—Leila, age 6
“In the summer, with my mom and dad, I tried an eggplant and I really liked it. We cooked it on the barbeque.”—Joya, age 6
“I like the garden because it’s fun because you get dirty a lot. You find worms.” Jagger, age 7
“I like the garden because I like eating the fruits and vegetables. I like the radishes – it was my first time trying them – the ones that the older kids in grade 4 brought around to us.”— Ciara, age 6 ¾