IST’s Growing Garden and Outdoor Classroom! |

Trailblazers, how does your garden grow? 

Starting a garden to learn and grow

IST’s STEM Director, Jennifer Passi, is a passionate gardener who has trained with master gardeners. She has long hoped to incorporate gardening into her curriculum, and this spring was her moment to dream big! This month, students in grades from Junior Pre-K through Grade 4 got outside and got to work as they collaborated to bring Ms. Passi’s vision of an outdoor classroom and educational garden to life, literally!  

The International Baccalaureate program is all about inquiry and connections, and a garden is full of both!  Ms. Passi collaborated with IST’s Maintenance and Facilities Director, Mr. Jesus, to make a plan and design for the garden. Mr. Jesus skillfully prepared the raised garden beds and built an outdoor whiteboard for the students to collect data and utilize it in their learning. Students took an active role in the design and planning process as they used Google Drawing to help design the space – and technology will continue to play a role in the garden as students design motion detectors to ward off small animals that could eat or destroy the plants! 

Preparing students with the right tools

No garden is complete without the proper tools to grow, so Ms. Passi made sure that the outdoor classroom has shovels, trowels, and gloves in kid sizes! She also made sure the students have rulers, string for creating rows to plant, popsicle sticks for labeling plants, and writing tools help with learning science, math, and engineering in the outdoor classroom. Students love using the picnic tables in the garden area as a space to sit, write, and reflect. 

Learning nutrition and mindfulness — and more

As our plants grow, our students will interview our Cafeteria Manager, Miss Laura, and Nurse Bethany to learn about the power of nutrition and how to grow and choose healthy foods. The students will learn a hands-on mindfulness practice when our mint and lavender grow – as rubbing these leaves on your wrist or fingers can be used to calm our bodies and minds with their wonderful scents!  

We will be happy to share updates from our growing garden in the months and years to come! Stay tuned for more information about our Kindness Rock Garden that is in the works for next year! 

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Heather Bernard
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