“Playground to Plate” A Garden Science Program
Tierrasanta Elementary is home to a flourishing Garden Science Program, “Playground to Plate.” We have a total of 3 gardens designated as hands on student learning centers and two additional gardens adding to the aesthetics and overall school climate of TES. The learning gardens are designated for grade levels K/1, 2/3, and 4/5. Each month every classroom in the school participates in a minimum of one thirty minute garden science lesson. These lessons are taught by parent volunteers at each grade level and incorporate such topics as life cycles, recycling, composting, farm to table, sustainability, nutrition, harvesting, fertilizing, water conservation and seasons. Students learn about gardening and food sources, while connecting to both the science and social studies curriculums used in the classroom. Parents worked together to create the gardens and develop a program that allows each and every child to touch soil, plant seeds, harvest fruits and vegetables and eat the “fruits of their labor,” truly bringing a hands on and engaging Garden Science program to TES. The K/1 garden also includes a separate Butterfly Garden area. Reading about life cycles in a text book and seeing them in action are two entirely different things! This garden was planted to attract Monarch butterflies and enables students to watch as caterpillars turn into pupas and emerge as butterflies! Milkweed and honeysuckle plants provide the perfect environment for this phenomenon.
The Garden Science Program at Tierrasanta Elementary has brought our community together and created a family friendly atmosphere in which students care for and respect their school. Through the Garden Program students have developed a feeling of pride and ownership which directly contributes to their personal involvement and responsibility. They take care of their school by picking up trash and being respectful of the gardens and can often be found watering, observing budding produce, and playing near the gardens at recess. The gardens also led to other beautification projects which add to the aesthetics of our school. We have two murals that highlight recycling and gardening, and have an industrious school/community recycling program (of bottles and cans) that brings in approximately $1200 each year!