Sag Harbor Elementary set to spruce up their community garden

Across Sag Harbor Elementary School, students and teachers will begin sprucing up their community garden. Currently, the first graders have begun planting seeds in alignment with their science curriculum. Adrian Drake, the school’s science teacher, Chris Kline, third-grade teacher, and Heidi Wilson, the school’s librarian, have all assisted the first graders as they explore what it takes to grow life from seed.

The first-grade students started the program by weeding the beds and prepping them for seeds. As the school’s library branches beyond books into lessons on problem-solving, how to find information, and STEAM, Library Media Center time has played a large role in this project, as well as science classes, and the occasional “body break” time during the day.

“It’s a great way for the students to spend more time outside playing and less time on screens. This project has taught students mindfulness and about being together,” said Wilson.

Wilson went on to explain that while the beginning feels like a lot of work (prepping beds and pulling weeds), the students have found that it sets the tone for what can grow. Students also learned that continued maintenance of the plant beds made things easier and carried this mantra into the maintenance of the equipment.

“Students share gloves, so they practice making sure the fingers are showing the correct way and that the equipment is in good condition for the next person. It’s a great way to explore character building,” said Wilson.

Besides working with seeds in the greenhouse and the outdoor beds, the first graders explored what it takes for life to grow from roots and water without soil. For example, using a fish tank, students have studied hydroponics and aquaponics by growing things like lettuce in the water. Within eight weeks, the lettuce was ready for the students to taste.

Soon, all grades will have a hand at the community garden with sections designated to their class. These grades, who might be learning about plant life and worm composting, will also have a chance to learn hands-on in an outdoor setting. Even the kindergarten class, who will partner with their fifth-grade buddy, will be able to dive into the outdoor community fun.

“Eventually the Summer Program will maintain the gardens and run a farmstand,” explained Wilson. “This will be a great opportunity for them to learn about the plants and things like adding up prices.” With plants such as tomatoes, string beans, zucchini, peppers, flowers, and more planned, it won’t be long before bursts of new life and color will be showing the hard work and learning opportunities of Sag Harbor Elementary School.


Photo caption: First-grade students kicked off the Sag Harbor Elementary community garden by planting seeds.