Heath School Gardens

  • Post published:09/02/2010
  • Post comments:5 Comments

Over at Garden Rant Mary Gray’s guest rant bewailed the state of many school grounds, all concrete and lawn. I am very familiar with the school grounds that she describes, but I feel fortunate that the children in our small town have a very different school experience.

Heath Elementary School wellhead

The Heath Elementary School, which opened in 1996, was built in a pasture surrounded by woodland. When the school bus pulls off the dirt road onto the driveway it passes a path that leads to the school’s wellhead. This area is well used for science study, with information about the importance of clean water, and how it is kept clean.

Heath School Entry

The children debark they welcomed by perennials on either side of the entrance.

Heath School Playing Fields

The school and its grounds are held in the embrace of a woodland, where science can be studied, and the beauties of nature can inspire art classes. Perhaps inspire a poem or essay or two as well.

Heath School Meadow

The meadow fills the circular drive where buses and cars drive up to, and then away from the entry. Right now it looks all neat having just been given a back to school trim, but in the spring it is a hazy blue meadow of lupines, followed by a bouquet of summer wildflowers.

Heath School Vegetable Garden

The newest addition to the school landscape is the vegetable garden, punctuated by some bright annuals. This has been producing for three or four years now and the soil gets better every year.  There are some apple trees, too. I’d like to be able to tell you that the kids enjoy some of those vegetables at lunch but I am sure, absolutely sure, that they would never break the law which forbids this kind of activity. Isn’t the law interesting? There might be another lesson there.

This school with its gardens doesn’t come about just because it is a small school out in the country. It takes devoted and energetic parents who volunteer time, labor and money, and creative teachers who find a hundred ways to integrate the garden and the landscape into the Mass Curriculum Frameworks.  Heath is pretty lucky!

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Kate

    Heath is lucky. Very lucky! I did a volunteer school grounds project a few years back. It was really fun getting parents and kids involved but it kind of broke my heart when I saw how nobody had followed through to keep it growing after my time was up. (It was in a different state.)

  2. Pat

    Kate – We are lucky. I understand your heartbreak. I know how volunteer projects can wax and wane – especially in a school because kids leave, and their parents volunteer elsewhere.

  3. Gail

    I wish I had attended a school like Heath~The woodlands would have been a joy and I am sure I would have discovered gardening sooner! One problem with schools around here are the intense summers with no volunteers to care for the gardens. gail

  4. Pat

    Gail – You have hit on the most difficult problem of a school garden – care during the summer. It does take devoted volunteers.

  5. Jeannine Atkins

    Wow. Amazing volunteers to make this wonderfulness happen. Thanks for spreading the good news.

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