Madison "GROWS" a Sustainable Future
May 18th, 2015 UW Arboretum
Celebrating Outdoor Learning, Garden-based Education and the Creation of Outdoor Classrooms
April showers did indeed bring May flowers to school yards all across Madison thanks to the Growing Outdoor Classrooms Program!
Offered by the GROW Coalition, with generous financial support from the Madison Community Foundation, the Growing Outdoor Classrooms Program is wrapping up its final year. Come to the UW Arboretum this Monday, May 18th from 4:15-6:15pm to learn about and to celebrate the accomplishments of this innovative program.
Lauded for supporting student academic, social and emotional learning, health outcomes and school engagement, outdoor learning and garden-based education is finding its place in schools across the country. Locally, The Growing Outdoor Classrooms Program has been supporting the effort to integrate outdoor learning and garden-based education in area schools for the past 3 years. These outdoor classrooms make learning come alive for students across the area and foster family and community involvement.
Over the 3 years the Growing Outdoor Classroom was offered, 15 exemplary outdoor classrooms have been created at local schools. These beautiful spaces incorporate vegetable gardens, rain gardens, butterfly gardens, woodlands, prairies, and outdoor learning pavilions depending on the individual school’s vision and purpose for their outdoor classroom.
These outdoor classrooms are providing places for students with sensory or behavioral needs to take ‘breaks’, for entire classrooms to see and experience plant and insect life cycles or get hands-on practice with geometry through building raised beds or mapping out plant spacing, for the whole community to gather for a harvest supper. Outdoor classrooms have become as important to accomplishing the work of our schools as libraries and computer labs!
Jen Greenwald, who teaches second grade at Muir Elementary, said, “When kids are in the garden, they ask boundless questions about what they see, feel, taste and hear. They eat food they never would otherwise try because they grew it themselves. When we ask them to go back to the indoor classroom, they protest. They don’t want to leave this wonder-filled place they have created.”
Please contact Julie Jarvis at 819-0689 or Julie@sustaindane.org for more information.