Beattie garden blossoms with learning
Everyday brings a new success for the school garden program at Beattie Elementary. Watching students pass through the garden on their way to recess, or spend class time learning from the space, Master Gardener Karen Drumm Creswell remarks, “Awe and wonder are too small of words to describe what we daily experience in the garden.”
Originally started back in 2000, the school garden at Beattie has consistently grown through the years. Every year sees an updated portion of the six-acre space, usually centered around a theme to engage and excited the students. Beattie currently boasts a Platte River Garden, a Prairie Garden, and Anti-bullying Garden, a Berry Patch, and many more. Each of these gardens support topics required in the children’s curriculum, allowing the space to be used as a place for active learning. Students also have the chance to take a garden class, focused on teaching them the fundamentals in outdoor education.
In the Beattie garden, learning does not stop when school ends. The Family Service Summer Program utilizes the garden to engage kids with their environment over break. There are also programs that run in conjunction with the school library, which remains open through the summer months.
Creating lifelong learners both in and outside of the classroom is one of the formative goals of any school garden program. Beattie embraces this mission by engaging caretakers and siblings in the garden. Once a month, families gather at the school for Family Garden Night. During the summer, Beattie students and their families take turns watering and tending the garden for one week. This extracurricular engagement teaches students that learning and stewardship does not stop when they leave school.
Though maintaining such an expansive garden and outdoor learning space is no easy feat, teachers and staff at Beattie take up the challenge with enthusiasm. All work and difficulties are made worth it when students are given the chance to actively engage with their learning through the garden. For Creswell, the best part of the garden is not the plants or landscaping. “[My favorite part] is the insights of children making discoveries in the garden, their delight,” she says. That’s an end result worth planting for.
Raised beds with fruits & veggies
Multiple themed gardens