By Sofia Santelices
For the past two years, Oak Hall second graders were given the responsibility of planting and maintaining a garden, located next to the Lower School playground. Currently in its third year, the second grade garden is initiating its wintertime vegetation after harvesting sweet potatoes in October. Some of the greenery being planted over the winter months include mint, various herbs, and beans that can sustain the lower temperatures.
In previous projects, students have planted kale, turnips, squash, Mexican sunflowers, as well as a milk wheat plant to attract butterflies. “It’s pretty and I like flowers and I like the plants there. And sometimes me and my friend… we would pick up the potatoes from the flower beds,” said second grader Sofia R. The types of plants are adjusted each year in order to determine which type is most suitable to endure cooler conditions. Second graders are given the opportunity to eat the plants they’ve grown once the harvesting process is completed.
This experience is an interactive process for second graders to enjoy. “I like that it gives kids an opportunity to be in nature and not restricted on the playground… It’s a very interactive thing,” said third grader Salem F. Salem participated in the garden last year, and truly enjoyed the knowledge he gained. During recess, certain students, known as “The Garden Helpers”, are assigned the task of tending to the garden.
Currently, only second grade has a garden, but other grades are welcome to visit and admire it. A previous teacher constructed the garden, and asked Lower School science teacher Ginny Switt to assist. Now, Switt carries on the custom of supervising this hands-on educational lesson.