Many Arlington Heights students are learning outdoors these days by digging, planting and nurturing their school gardens. These gardens are serving as outdoor classrooms offering opportunities to learn about different types of gardening, while observing and studying our natural ecosystems.
Here are a few examples of local school gardening activities:
- A sensory garden that includes a new butterfly garden at Windsor School
- A vegetable garden with a pollinator patch at Ivy Hill School, plus the foundations for a prairie garden. The prairie garden will include plantings of native shrubs and plants. You can view photos of their student gardeners here.
- Jim Platt, former owner of Sylvia’s Flowers in Arlington Heights has instituted a greenhouse renovation project at Miner School, an NSSEO facility for individuals with developmental disabilities. Students are assisting Mr. Platt with the project and, in turn, learning important life skills.
The gardens have also been a great way to involve the community. Support and encouragement for these programs is being provided by parents and families, school personnel, as well as the expertise and guidance from local Master Gardeners. One of the outcomes of this hands-on learning experience is reconnecting students with our community’s rich traditions. Many of the farming techniques that were used by immigrants that flocked to this prairie town 125 years ago are now coming into vogue again, as sustainability and ecological cycles have been researched and found to be “tried and true”. Students are creating a foundation for a green future by learning to nurture school gardens for those that will follow them.
When you drop by the library this month, be sure to view all the student artwork from Arlington Heights School District 25. For the past 20 years, the library has set aside the month of May to feature works from all nine schools that highlight the art units and artistic techniques that students have learned throughout the current school year.