Welcome to the March feature of Wintering with City Green! Each month this winter we’re taking a deep dive into a City Green department to learn more about what they do. Explore their programs, join us at their workshops, learn how they plan for the upcoming season, and so much more! Follow along this month on our website, social media, and newsletter as we explore our School Grounds program!
What is School Grounds at City Green?
The School Grounds program at City Green provides outdoor garden classrooms, teacher trainings, and ongoing support for schools in New Jersey to enhance academic achievement across disciplines; ensure student interaction with the natural world; and provide access to hands-on, experiential learning that creates an understanding of where food comes from.
Partner schools and teachers gain curriculum, resources, knowledge, and enthusiasm to use this outdoor classroom as an educational asset and tool to cultivate a farm-to-school culture that values and celebrates garden education as an integral part of developing the whole child.
Indoor Garden Station Set Ups for Farm to Pre-K Partners
This spring our School Grounds team is busy building indoor garden stations for our USDA Farm to Preschool partners!
Our School Grounds team partners with local preschools to build raised bed gardens and provide hands-on, nature based gardening lessons. School gardens act as powerful learning tools for children of all ages, but they are extra special for preschool students. Gardening helps enhance what preschoolers are already learning, from fine motor skill development to vocabulary building and social skills. Additionally, being exposed to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at such a young age creates habits that encourage a lifetime of healthy eating. School gardens provide opportunities for children to learn, play and create in beautiful outdoor spaces created especially for them.
In 2022, City Green received a grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish or expand school gardening programs at Head Start preschools in our community. Clifton Early Learners Academy, Montclair Child Development Center, Michael’s Energy Factory of GBCA, Eastside Head Start of GBCA, and Westside Head Start of GBCA are all preschools participating in this new program and are receiving exciting garden lessons, City Green field trips, and school garden upgrades.
As a part of the USDA Farm to Preschool program, City Green will distribute indoor garden grow stations. The grow stations are traveling indoor gardens carts that go from classroom to classroom, providing greater accessibility of garden education to preschoolers. The indoor grow stations contain grow lights, seed trays, planting tools, storage bins, seeds, and indoor grow guides and lessons. Preschool classes will use the indoor grow station to start seeds for their garden while learning about nature and the importance of healthy eating!
Want to learn more about our indoor garden stations? Check out our Instagram and TikTok for a behind the scenes look at how we build them! If you have any questions for our School Grounds team, leave a comment down below and we’ll be happy to get back to you!
City Green is a 501(c)3 urban farming and gardening organization based in Clifton, New Jersey working to foster connections between communities, agriculture, and the environment. For more information about City Green, visitwww.citygreenonline.org.