Youngsters at Blue River Elementary School are enjoying and learning from an unusual project – an indoor garden or greenhouse.
“We started planting seeds in early March,” reported teacher Maymie Tegart. “The kids love starting their day by watering the plants and making new observations. We have been able to watch cucumbers and butternut squash start to grow. We are excited to see how some of them do in the community garden this summer. Hopefully we will have some pumpkins to carve next Halloween!”
The teacher said that experiential and hands-on learning has been a big focus of at Blue River School this year.
“The garden provides a lot of inspiration for science and math lessons,” she said. “We have also been cooking regularly and learning about healthy food.”
Tegart noted that parents such as Amy Deuling and Lee Onslow have been extremely helpful throughout the whole indoor garden process.
The school received a $3,000 grant from the Whole Kids Foundation. It also received a learning grant from School District 73 to help support the new curriculum which was put towards some indoor lighting for the garden. Canna Farms, West Coast Seeds, and R.L Palmer Manufacturing have also been generous.
“I hope the garden can continue to grow each year,” Tegart said. “We plan to sell salad kits with fresh herbs throughout the school year to community members. This year was just a start and it has been very exciting to watch it slowly expand.”
A sale of seedlings from the garden on Thursday, May 10, raised about $400. Items for sale included:
• three types of tomatoes;
• acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, zucchini, cucumber;
• broccoli and cauliflower; and
• three types of peppers.
Other projects at the school this past year included raising coho salmon from eggs. Tina Donald of Simpcw First Nation was at the school on Tuesday, May 8, to help the students release the salmon fry into the Blue River, as well as to provide lunch for students and parents.
The students have also been incubating chicken eggs to observe their life cycles.