At Rousseau McClellan School 91, Rachel Patten’s class has already started planting; students say the lessons learned through the gardening process cover much more than you might think.
“We have to use our best manners and show we’re good sharers while we’re planting,” said first grade student Ruby. “And it’s important to be patient and put the seeds in the ground very gently to be sure they’ll grow.”
Mrs. Patten’s class has been leading Rousseau McClellan’s gardening efforts for three years – ever since a Pulliam grant opportunity with Butler University enabled the start of this transformative project.
“It truly is a community effort,” said Mrs. Patten. “Our middle school students built the fence around the garden to protect it, our parents volunteer to water the beds through the summer…we even had an artist from Big Car Collective make signs for all of the vegetables.”
From clearing out space on the school grounds to moving truckloads of mulch, third grade student Cisco has been part of the gardening project from day one. Now, he helps to care for a unique space in the Rousseau McClellan garden.
“The peace area is a quiet spot where you can come to sit and read a book or enjoy the fountains,” Cisco said. “Our Peace Pole took months to make; it says ‘may peace prevail on Earth’ in eight languages!”
While the students at Rousseau McClellan are growing fruits and vegetables for class snacks, the gardeners at James A. Garfield School 31 are growing food for smaller members of the school community – chickens! Students recently planted greens including kale, collards and spinach for the school chickens to enjoy. They’re also prepping the garden for a collaboration with a great community partner.
“Once it warms up a little more we will be getting plants from our partners at South Circle Farms,” said Parent Community Coordinator Sarah McAfee. “We are looking forward to a great season!”