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This is How We Grow

Cindy Wray,   Shaw Elementary School
Access to Healthy Foods, Community Involvement, Student Leadership,  Teamwork
This is How We Grow

At Rose Shaw Elementary, Fuel Up to Play 60 is about adopting an overall healthy lifestyle that includes learning about nutrition, developing social skills, ensuring emotional wellbeing, and promoting mental health. All of these aspects are crucial to the success of my students. One way we do this is through our school garden. A select group of students are the caretakers of several of the garden’s beds. The following is a story from a few of those students in one of our classrooms: “Some of my students can sometimes struggle sitting in a classroom all day. Structured breaks have become part of our day and enable our students to maintain their own emotional wellbeing throughout the day. Before we had a garden, many of the students chose to relax by playing games or staring at a computer screen. However, when break time comes during the day, now they want to go and work in the garden, instead of staying inside and staring at a screen! Even some my most challenging students, who struggle to focus and concentrate on all the work in front of them, can now take 10 minutes in the garden and come back to the classroom ready to learn.” I cannot put a price on the benefits of our school garden, but the impact has been huge. We want to send a sincere thanks to Fuel Up to Play 60 for helping to empower our students to take charge of their own activity and understand that they do not have to be tethered to technology. We would also like to thank Dairy Max for helping to show our students that they do not need to live on a farm to bring home fresh food, they can do so from their own backyards with a little effort and hard work.

How did students and adults work together as a team?

The students were not always able to take care of their garden on their own. They allowed their teachers to help and guide them in order to give the garden the best care in growing.

How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?

The garden is a place that our students enjoy visiting every day. They are already planning their next set of crops for the next season, making our garden grow year-round.

What improvements have you seen at your school?

The largest improvement has been with our students and their eagerness to learn. They want to study in order to earn time in the garden, as well as to understand it. They are eager to try the food they have grown as well as share it with their families.