The Lower School’s Garden for the Good combines science and art curricula with community service. The program provides lessons in environmental stewardship, nutrition and art, while offering a forum for a character-building community service project.

Students are hands-on in the garden, planting seeds and observing plant growth. The garden project leads to discussions in Science class about the benefits to the environment of growing your own food. “By planting a garden, we are helping future generations,” says former fourth grader Robert Kerr. “Less pollution gets put into the air because a truck is not delivering the food to a store and you are not driving to the store to get your food.” Students also learn about the nutritional aspects of a healthy diet and sample some unique concoctions – like green kale smoothies. Even the worms the students use for vermi-composting deliver lessons on invertebrate muscle systems or inquiry-based learning projects.

The Art Department provided the containers used for plantings and installed flower-shaped wood hangings painted by Upper School art students. Lower School art students create colorful ceramic flowers to fill empty beds until they are ready for planting. Harvest from the Garden for the Good has been dedicated to a fund-raising dinner to benefit the Freestore Foodbank. Local chefs are going to work with the kids to make meals with the harvest.

Service learning projects like Garden for the Good make an academic connection and are distinctively different from community service or volunteering. It benefits the children through learning.