We believe that children learn in a variety of ways and environments. Offering an outdoor space where students can explore with their senses and cultivate confidence through growing gardens has been a long dream at Kidston Elementary.
In 2015, the dream of a school garden came to life when a passionate parent/grandparent team, a garden committee and an invested teacher came together and implemented 10 raised garden beds, bringing our Kidston school garden to life. The Okanagan Science Center’s Landed Learning program successfully supported one class, whose teacher in turn has developed her class curriculum around gardening and is now sharing the knowledge with their ‘buddy’ class. As well a group of parent volunteers ran a weekly garden club with more than 25 very excited regular members. The garden was a hit.
The 2016/17 year brought significant interest and growth to our garden, with more than half of the classrooms wanting garden space to incorporate into their curriculum. Based on that, the garden committee, PAC and a local eco design company specializing in school gardens joined hands to design an outdoor learning legacy.
An exciting new design was created based on student and teacher wish lists consisting of: sustainable permaculture, edible gardens (used for garden to plate program), experiential learning gardens (native plants/pollinators), an adventure pathways (exploring/climbing) and a special requested feature; an outdoor covered classroom structure for students and teachers to gather and grow year round.
With help from the students and teachers, the perfect name for this outdoor learning legacy was chosen and this past Spring 2018, Kidston Discovery Gardens – phase 1, the edible gardens became a reality! 16 raised garden beds have been built, planted and are currently blooming! The area has efficient drip irrigation and accessible access for everyone to enjoy and discover. Our favourite part is watching the students hand pick and nibble lettuce with dirt filled fingernails:)
Still to come this spring, will be a shed/teaching wall and seating area within the garden space. We were so excited to collaborate with the Okanagan College Trades and Apprenticeship Explore a Trade grade 11 and 12 program at A.L. Fortune who have built our super sturdy shed and Shepard’s Hardware for their generous support too.
We also want to bring awareness to our Garden to Plate Program lead by Grandma D (Dawn) who works with the classes to educate the importance of healthy choices starting from seed to plate and also cook and bake up delicious healthy lunches for our hot lunch program! She has brought an excitement to our school and natural, student-grown smoothies and salad bars have never been more rad! These new gardens are flowing directly into the Garden to Plate program and into Kidston students and teachers! It is exciting to watch the growth. Grandma D is looking at ways to duplicate herself so others can experience this transformation at their schools too. Please reach out to Grandma D if you are interested in learning more.
We are still completely overwhelmed and in awe of all the support we received. And beaming ear to ear watching so many classrooms exploring and learning in the gardens. Our Kidston School families, friends and community came together to provide a true outdoor legacy at our Build-A-Garden day. There are so many local businesses who gifted us with in kind products and provincial & national organizations who kindly donated to our garden and continue to empower healthy outdoor learning and lifestyles. Farm to School BC was a huge reason our gardens are in place!! On behalf of our Kidston school family, we THANK YOU!!!
Please visit our Sponsor page for the massive list of all who generously made this a reality and will help to complete phase 2, the outdoor classroom structure and adventure pathways. And Kidston Discovery Garden website to watch us grow.
“Discovery is the privilege of the child…” Alexander Grothendieck
To read more please see the article in the Vernon Morning Star by Roger Knox https://issuu.com/blackpress/docs/i2018050904140259/18?ff=true&e=1205826/61105932 And have a look at this beautifully captured video of our Build A Garden Day by superstar parent Jill https://vimeo.com/267818569 Check out our website at http://www.kidstongarden.com and facebook page ~ Kidston Discovery Gardens ~ for all that has been happening in the new garden and updates on phase 2, outdoor learning and native plant/pollinator pathways!