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Parkside Wins Grant for Learning Garden

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By Rebecca Wallace
Do you love to garden, but don’t have the space, or sun? Do you love it so much that you have your own garden, but would still love to help create a beautiful learning space for children in the neighborhood? If you answered yes to either question, Parkside Elementary invites you to come plant with them!
“We have a lovely space here at Parkside that was constructed years ago, and thanks to a new crop of dedicated parents, it is coming back to life,” said Principal Caitlin Sims. “An added bonus is that we just received a grant from the Captain Planet Foundation that is going to help us transform the space into a true learning garden.”
The PTA Building & Grounds Committee, with support by Coach Armelia Braddy, has been working to clean up the garden and start a few plantings. The group also recently recruited a Master Gardener to help them develop a plan. With funding from the Captain Planet Foundation (CPF), the committee will spend the next 12 months building raised beds and filling them with fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
It is well-documented that gardens provide a context for multidisciplinary learning in subjects ranging from nutrition and science to social studies, math, and language arts.
“We want to have a place to engage the kids not only on planting and harvesting, but tasting and learning,” said Coach Braddy, who applied for the grant to bring the CPF Learning Gardens program to Parkside. She also brings the Parkside Wellness Ambassadors to the garden to work occasionally.
According to the application, the Learning Gardens program offers schools strategies for building effective and long-lasting garden-based learning programs. In addition to assisting with the garden, CPF provides teachers with hands-on training, lessons aligned to national curriculum standards, lesson kits filled with supplies, a fully-equipped mobile cooking cart, and participation in the summer garden management program.
In the coming months, there will be a few workdays to build beds and prepare the soil, and by spring, the space will be ready to plant. Parkside is looking for neighbors and other community members to help with this exciting transformational project. Please look for dates when you can come help transform this valuable asset in our community.
Parkside Elementary School is located at 685 Mercer Street in Grant Park. For more information, please call 404-802-4100.

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