Learning sprouts at school

Every grade at Oak Harbor Elementary School has something new to help students learn — a garden.

Just a day before summer vacation, students began planting “learning gardens” in a former gravel patch between two buildings on the school campus.

Each grade has its own learning garden with a different theme. Preschoolers planted a vegetable garden, kindergartners planted a rainbow garden, first-graders planted a butterfly garden, second-graders planted an herb garden and third-graders planted a wind garden.

Fourth-graders planted a salmon restoration garden. Their plants, once grown, will be transplanted to help with salmon restoration. Fifth-graders planted a bird habitat garden.

Principal Dorothy Day said the gardens will be incorporated into student lessons and can be used in such subjects as math and science.

She added the gardens make a good use of what had been an ugly space between the school buildings. The idea for the learning gardens started about a year ago and work began on clearing the space about a month ago.

Day thanked the people and groups who volunteered to build the learning gardens. In addition to the parents who volunteered, Corey Johnson, Kathy and Duncan Chalfant, Maillard’s Landing Nursery, Paradise Landscaping, and the school’s Navy partner, CNATTU and VP 46 provided support.

Oak Harbor Elementary School received a $2,700 scholarship from the Oak Harbor Education Foundation, a $2,700 scholarship from the Oak Harbor Garden Club and a $250 scholarship from The Home Depot.

There are plans in place to maintain the learning gardens. The gardens have sprinklers, which were provided through Paradise Landscaping, the school district maintenance staff will mow the grass, and students participating in the summer reading program will monitor the plants, Day said.

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