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The teachers responsible for this program very kindly invited the committee to join in one of the school’s end of term salad parties. Three of us accepted and everything went extremely well during our visit to Lakeshore School. One of the teachers, Martha Luna, is inspired. She handled the class superbly well and the children responded to everything marvelously. One little chap even remembered the word “aphid” when she asked them to name a “bad bug”. We were struck by the ability of this first grader to remember such a difficult word. When asked for their favorite activities in the gardening class, everyone had both enjoyed watering the plants and birdwatching.
The garden program has its own little 2 room bungalow surrounded by raised beds full of flowers and vegetables. The scented leaf geraniums were very lush. Apart from that the children grow fruit and vegetables in three other sections of the grounds. In one of them they were all dwarfed by the amazing stand of fava beans which threatened to take over the world.
Each child had a little basket to fill with greens and beans. Then they all trundled back to the bungalow and washed them carefully. Drying it all in the salad spinners was an additional delight. Shelling the fava beans led to more creative fun. Finally everyone got to eat the products of their season’s care. Nothing could be more satisfying.
The visit shows the huge importance of this sort of adjunct to standard education. The children are learning almost without realizing it. Being outdoors in the open air is healthy and uses up some of the overwhelming energy many of them have. Then when they have to sit still in class they settle much better. All this is in addition to the value of eating fresh fruit and vegetables. This is a truly worthy use for the club’s funds.
Judith M. Taylor, MD
Chair, CPR Committee