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A Whole-Hearted Commitment
St. Giles School and its PTO are working to fund and build an Outdoor Classroom and Garden on our campus.
The Outdoor Classroom will be a series of spaces, which can be built in phases as funding is acquired. Components include an open space for seating and instruction, a vegetable and fruit garden, and a pollinator garden for local birds and insects. The space is intended to be cross-curricular, serving students from preschool to 8th grade.
Jeanne Nolan, owner of the Organic Gardener assessed the school landscape and designed a plan. Her professional experience includes planning numerous school gardens in the greater Chicago area in addition to the Edible Garden at the Lincoln Park Zoo--a field trip favorite of our kindergartners.
Why an Outdoor Education?
The outdoor space can be utilized to enhance the curriculum in areas not limited to but including: science (such as studying photosynthesis, applying trial and error, observing plants and insects and their life cycle, planning and decision making regarding use of light and space--which plants should be grown in which space), math (requiring measurement and calculations regarding how many seeds should be
planted in a given space to maximize harvest), art (sketching, drawing, painting elements of nature both in and out of the garden), social studies (studying which plants are native to the Americas and considering how the introduction of new plants reflects changing immigration patterns), and physical education (how fruits and vegetables are important for an active lifestyle).
Furthermore, this space will stretch the limits of our classrooms. It can be used as a quiet space for reflection and conversation or an alternative space for teachers to hold class. The garden will also benefit our greater community with excess produce being donated to our local food pantry, furthering our school's mission to be better stewards of the earth and our community.
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