Greer Elementary benefits from outdoor learning
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- "Building a garden at your home is one thing, it's very great to be sustainable, but here, it's teaching kids who might not have the opportunity," said Kathy Garstang with the Building Goodness Foundation.
That opportunity serves a greater purpose at Greer Elementary School, where a learning garden will help serve underprivileged children.
"It broadens our community and the reach," Garstang said.
Right now, 75 percent of students at Greer live in households below the poverty line. The school also has the most diverse student population of any Albemarle County school, with students speaking more than 30 different languages.
First-grade teacher Emily Bell says it's important for her students to learn through experience.
"Learning through the garden where their food comes from, they have a connection to where their food comes from, and they are much more enthusiastic about eating new foods, trying those vegetables, learning about nutrition when they have a connection to the garden as well," Bell said.
Piedmont Master Gardener Chris Atkins says that outdoor learning is something all schools should consider.
"We feel like science, math, social studies and environment are all hands-on lessons, and we bring them out here and we teach them fun lessons, but we're also tying them to the Virginia teaching objectives," Atkins said.
The most recent lesson was all about pumpkins.
Dan Moskowitz, the market president of Blue Ridge Bank, said the bank joined the initiative because of similar values.
"We just felt like we not only needed to support them financially, but we also need to support them on days like this where some non-skilled construction labor can be put to good use," he said.
The garden and outdoor classroom are made possible by the Building Goodness Foundation's "Cville Builds" initiative with Piedmont Master Gardeners and Blue Ridge Bank.
Piedmont Master Gardeners currently operates gardens at two other schools, but there are hopes for more in the future.