Walton Gardening Program
Walton Gardening Program project provides children the opportunity to play in the dirt, plant some seeds, harvest what they grow, and to taste something fresh and delicious. It promotes community, local organic food, healthy eating choices, and food sustainability.
Through this program children learn to grow, harvest and eat nutritiously. Outdoor classroom activities integrate the complete food cycle, from seed to table and from table back to soil.
The program is run by Ian Lai from the Richmond Schoolyard Society. The Richmond Schoolyard Society has been teaching children about health and social responsibility for the last 10 years. Their vision can be summed up in a simple equation: “Kids + gardens + healthy food = stronger communities”
The Garden Project links well with the Science and Social Studies curriculum for all grade levels at Walton:
Kindergarten: Plants and animals have observable features and daily and seasonal changes affect all living things. Content: Basic needs of plants and animals, seasonal changes, First Peoples' uses of plants and animals.
Grade 1: Big Idea: Living things have features and behaviours that help them survive in their environment and observable patterns and cycles occur in the landscape. Content: Classification of living/non-living things and behavioural adaptations of animals in local environment.
Grade 2: Big Idea: All living things have a life cycle and water is essential to all living things, and it cycles through the environment. Content: Water Walton Gardening Program sources, metamorphic and non-metamorphic life cycles of different organisms.
Grade 3: Big Idea: Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in ecosystems. Content: Biodiversity, Aboriginal knowledge of ecosystems, energy needed for life.
Grade 4: Big Idea: Organisms in ecosystems sense and respond to their environment and biomes. Content: Features of biomes and the way organisms in ecosystems sense and respond to environment.
Grade 5: Big Idea: Aboriginal concept of interconnectedness in the environment. Content: Basic structures of body systems (digestions), Aboriginal interconnectedness to environment.
The Garden Project is currently being run with select classes and feedback from those teachers and students has been very positive. Last week the Grade one students in Mrs. Dupius and Ms.Cui’s classes had a great opportunity to learn about the intricate work and life of worms. Mr. Lai explained that worms are living creatures that have a brain and five hearts. He also let the children know that worms eat compost that is nice and soft, explaining their important role in the life cycle of a productive garden.
Each child had their own container of worms, a stir stick to gently move the worms around, and a magnifying glass. They watched the "Red Wigglers", listened to them with the lights out and many children handled the worms.
More information on the Richmond School Yard Society is available at www.kidsinthegarden.org
Can You Donate any Gardening Tools?
The Gardening Program is in need of some tools for the students’ to use in cultivating the garden that will be planted this spring. If you have any of the following in good working order that you would be willing to donate, please drop them off at the school office by Monday February 15th.
A big THANK YOU to Mr. Michael Beet and the SD43 Maintenance and Facilities Department for offering to install our garden boxes free of charge. Following discussions regarding our upper playground installation, they have kindly offered to build and install our garden boxes as good will for some oversights that were made this summer.