Here at The Fulton School, we have always encouraged our kids to get their hands in the soil and get dirty. In fact, our preschool Montessori classroom has maintained flowers and herbs in their garden playground for years. They work to prepare the soil, dig the holes, plant the plants, and water them throughout the week. The earth can be a powerful learning tool.
The hillside up to Engelmann Woods has long been home to an apple orchard. With a season of care, the brush was cleared out, ensuring that the trees have a healthy environment to flourish. On this same hillside is a blackberry patch, which yields quite a crop in the summertime.
In the first season of our Farm Program, the students grew tomato plants from seed. Since then, they have expanded to starting peppers, a variety of herbs, radishes, and onions from seedlings. Once the plants are of a healthy young size, the students sell the plants to customers (aka parents). Any unsold plants are then planted here at school, and the produce is sold as well at our after-school "farmers market."
We also established a blueberry patch with a variety of bushes. With the help of a local boy scout troop, a structure was built to completely enclose the bushes, allowing in plenty of sunlight but providing protection from birds and small animals like squirrels and rabbits. The summer of 2015 produced an amazing batch of berries!
Just recently, the students worked together to assemble a sturdy greenhouse -- a nice addition to our program.