What Primary is doing in the garden lately

27 Sep

This is a story about the amazing ripple effect that a single person can have.

Last year, a parent (not me!) of a Primary student in Ms. Baker’s class offered to help out by taking the students outside to the Edible Garden every week. The plan grew: The parent decided she may as well plan a string of lessons for the students to do outside.

This is what the garden looked like on one of her volunteer days …

(In case you’re wondering about the fancy attire, it was Picture Day.)

As you might imagine, Ms. Baker loved seeing how this idea panned out. She’d wanted her kids to be in the garden more, but she wasn’t sure where to start. So this really solved a problem for her. Other Primary teachers heard about the strategy and liked it.

In fact, they liked it so much that two Primary teachers decided to formalize the idea. This past summer, Ms. Watson and Ms. McGill collaborated to write a fabulous series of lessons that connect Montessori principles with the Edible Garden, using the volunteer parent’s ideas as a launch pad. The lessons weave in Grace & Courtesy, butterflies, bugs, measurements, plant identification, soil, and worms. (I’ll post them online soon, so you can do your own garden activities with your kids!)

At the start of this school year, Ms. Watson and Ms. McGill gave every teacher in Primary the set of lessons. Parents from each Primary classroom volunteered to be Garden Parents.

So now we have a pretty cool model in place, with teachers connecting the Edible Garden with Montessori principles, and parents giving Montessori lessons to the 100-plus students in Primary this year — which helps build our school community and enriches students’ school day. And how did it start? With a volunteer’s time and talent, and a teacher’s openness.

To me, this is an example of “family involvement” at its best. Do you have an hour per month — or more — to give? How could you use your time and talent to enrich your child’s experience at George Watts?

You can’t possibly predict the ripple effect your gift will have.

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