Research shows that school gardens foster academic achievement and improve attitudes toward school and learning. The garden is the “lab” for teaching nutrition, math and science. It is also a good place to learn responsibility and the value of hard work. For these reasons and more, schools are embracing gardens as an educational activity for children during or after school.
Our school gardens are as different as the gardeners that work in them. Some of the gardens are growing edibles. Other gardens are built for the pollinators. The garden at Argyle Elementary School, in Smyrna, was planted to draw birds to the garden, so the children can watch and record data. Garrett Middle School in Austell also sports a pollinator/ birding style of garden. The school gardens are not just managed by classroom teachers and science teachers. They are cared for by counselors, assistant principals, media specialists, and special needs teachers. King Springs Primary School garden is cared for by the school custodian. Week after week our teacher master gardeners and other energetic faculty work with children, the future Cobb County gardeners in their school gardens.
West Cobb Christian Academy, Still Elementary School, Floyd Middle School, and Kennesaw Charter Science and Math Academy are venturing into hydroponics. Still Elementary School boasts two garden clubs with a total of forty children participating after school. Dowell Elementary School’s “ Dig in the Dirt” club has 100 children in the garden club led by counselor Dr. Geraldine Bryant. She meets with 25 each week with a lot of parent support.
One of the oldest school gardens in Cobb is a private school at Midway Covenant School. Led by master gardener Becky Blades, the children look forward to planting and eating the produce from their garden. Birney Elementary School’s after school gardeners have entered horticulture in the North GA Fair for 5 years. They won many ribbons, and two are the coveted “Best in Show” ribbons. Due West Elementary School under the leadership of Master Gardener, Rita Fullick, boasts a garden centered on math concepts. Vaughn Elementary School has given their scout troops a place to garden on their campus. Master gardener, Michele Gambon, leads Sawyer Road Elementary School, a Marietta City green school. This school has a beautiful garden shaped like a star with a focus on composting.
The teachers are involved. The children are involved. The master gardeners are involved. School gardens are really “growing” in Cobb’s schools.