Homma Elementary School is home to 24 divisions and over 550 students. We have prioritized and normalized garden education by creating a full time position to ensure every child has the opportunity to engage in meaningful hands on planting, caring for, and harvesting of veggies and fruit in our own school-yard. By re-imagining what a prep teacher’s role could be in the school, we have created an opportunity to immerse students in garden learning on a regular basis. Each participating classroom receives two 50 minute lessons in the garden per week. Our garden classroom is used daily, in all weather, and is a much beloved hub of playful learning and inquiry in our community.
During the growing season, children are engaged in the planting, harvesting and care of the garden. Our students complete every step of the growing process and are invited to explore provocations that connect the biodiversity of our garden to all curricular areas. Children learn to appreciate the cyclical nature of seasonal eating and feel protective of our local farmlands by virtue of spending so much time engaged in the food cycle. We plant strategically to ensure our crops are ready for harvest before June 30th and after September 1. Students prepare seedlings in the spring and save seeds in the fall to sell at our heritage fair, which links financial literacy to the garden and further supports our programming goals.
During the summer months, our community gathers in the garden to play and care for the crops to be harvested in the fall. We grow a wide range of crops that are ready to enjoy right from the garden, like peas and carrots, as well as crops that require some preparation to enjoy, like rhubarb and zucchini.
During the winter months, students are provided with opportunities for nature play to support attachment to place, while also provoking reflection and growth of core competency skills. During the winter, students also engage in outdoor scientific inquiries, mathematical thinking and story creation inspired by our garden classroom.
Funding from our farm to school grant was used to replenish our consumable supplies (like row markers) and replace our well worn gardening tools, gloves and resources (like pruning shears). What a gift to be able to also provide students with the materials for brand new tables that they built themselves! The sense of ownership and pride that comes from co-creating a learning space is invaluable and links so wonderfully with our ADST curricular goals. Thank you for funding our vision and the learning we enjoy in our garden classroom!
Follow along with our garden learning on twitter at @roomtoplay and on Instagram at @roomtoplay