GARDEN OF LIFE

The Garden of Life was established in 2010 in memory of Eliza Oliver, a beloved teacher at Rowayton School. The Garden of Life is also part of the Norwalk Grows School Garden Program.  Volunteers for installation of the garden, were provided by our Norwalk Grows corporate partner, Pepperidge Farm.

Students visit the garden throughout the year, planting and nurturing the vegetables, eventually harvesting and eating the vegetables they have grown. It is truly a special experience to see the excitement on a child’s face as they are eating a vegetable that perhaps they have never tried before or that they grew and picked themselves right from the school garden.  One student described a cherry tomato as she bit into it for the first time as being “Quite Cheerful”. Her enthusiasm radiated throughout the group and the smile on her face was priceless. Another student, who was not much of a vegetable eater, when given the chance to pick his own string beans and eat them, proudly declared himself going forward to be “a mean green bean eating machine”.  These are but a few of the wonderful things that happen when students start working in the garden.

One of our goals is for students to learn the importance of knowing where their food comes from, the value associated with growing their own food and the long term nutritional benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Another goal   for the upcoming school year is to make sure the garden is utilized more consistently as an outdoor classroom setting, where garden-based activities become integrated into the core curriculum. This will be an exciting time for the garden at our school and the possibilities for learning are endless!!!!

Summer Fun in the Garden was a wonderful group that met Monday evenings throughout the summer. The group enjoyed planting, watering, pruning and harvesting crops that included a variety of lettuces, carrots, cucumbers, string beans, eggplant, garlic and herbs.  As you head back to school, keep your eyes peeled for the tomatoes, watermelons and pumpkins. Thanks to the hard work of these summer gardeners, we anticipate having wonderful crops to look forward to harvesting in the Fall such as Peas, kale, radishes, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, broccoli and herbs.

Ms. Oliver was a wonderful teacher who valued experiential learning and garden activities for the students.  It is our hope that all of the students at Rowayton School will benefit from their time in the Garden of Life and share in the enthusiasm for learning that will ultimately pay the best tribute to Ms. Oliver’s memory.

Volunteers are needed and always welcome in the garden, especially this year as we work together to transition our garden into more of an active learning laboratory that ultimately will be used by all students.

The Garden of Life wishes to thank the Rowayton PTA, the Rowayton Gardeners Club and Eliza Oliver’s family for their continued support.  Also, thank you to Norwalk Grows for providing a part time garden coordinator to Rowayton School. If you are interested in opportunities to participate in the school garden this year, or you would like to learn more about ways to support your child’s learning experience in the garden, please contact Laina Grillo, Garden Committee Chairperson at paulaina@optonline.net, or Tracy Gibson, Garden Coordinator at tjgibson@optonline.net.

Stayed tuned for communication regarding exciting After School Programming and upcoming Garden events, activities and opportunities to join in!

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