Central Elementary opened the doors to its garden at the beginning of the school year after receiving a generous grant from Home Depot. The community was awarded $8,500 to cultivate an outdoor learning environment for students in the district, providing resources for permanent planters, foliage, and pathways.
Since then, students at Central Elementary have been able to experience the endless benefits of a community garden. Research has shown that students who have access to such an open space of nature are positively impacted for years to come. In fact, the earlier exposure to a garden encourages a willingness in students to start their own gardens and learn more about the environment. First-hand knowledge about nutrition and the origin of healthy foods fosters a new approach to learning.
In many schools, fifth grade students with garden experience scored higher on science achievement tests than those without this exposure. Seemingly inapplicable topics like nature and the earth’s structure become more accessible for students when they are able to play and grow in a community garden. In an age where digital tools often dominate the lives of our youth, this garden is a way to remind students of the importance of appreciating the physical world. The district’s goal is not merely to raise successful students, but to do so while cultivating good and healthy human beings.
The continuous growth and management of this garden at Central Elementary has been possible solely through the collaborative efforts of parents, the community, countless volunteers from the U.S. Navy BMU-1 and HSM-78, Home Depot, and staff members. Central aims to continue looking for ways to engage students in impactful ways that go miles beyond the classroom space, using gifts of nature as an important stepping stone.
About the South Bay Union School District:
The South Bay Union School District proudly serves over 7,500 students in Imperial Beach, San Ysidro, and south San Diego. The District is comprised of twelve campuses, including nine K-6 schools, two K-8 charter schools, and one Preschool. South Bay offers several specialized programs including Dual Language, Instrumental Music, Visual and Performing Arts, and a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Academy.
Company Name: South Bay Union School District
Contact Person: Amy Cooper
Phone: (619) 628-1605
Address:601 Elm Avenue
City: Imperial Beach
Country: United States