OSCAR MAYER MAGNET SCHOOL
GARDEN PROJECT 2008
Oscar Mayer Magnet School in Chicago is in the process of some exciting changes. In the Fall of 2007, Oscar Mayer began the first year of our new Montessori program, which will eventually be expanded through the 5th grade. This coming Fall, the new prospective International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IBMYP) will begin which will include the 6th, 7th & 8th grades over the next three years. Both Montessori and IBMYP philosophies/curriculum have gardening, environment, and healthy lifestyle components so a number of the parents thought, “Let’s build a school garden”. It just makes so much sense to have a green space for our kids to learn about where our food comes from. Our new garden is for all of the students and teachers to enjoy. This is their place to get their hands dirty, learn about the environment and so much more.
Many of the classrooms started seeds and spent afternoons transplanting their plants. The students were then responsible for maintaining their plots until school let out for the summer. We have organized a summer watering/weeding schedule for families and teachers who have expressed interest in helping with the gardens over the next three months.
We hope that teachers will use the garden for science experiments, ecology lessons, art, math, botany, etc. And we hope that eventually our garden will provide a small business opportunity. We plan to grow a plethora of herbs and flowers that could be sold at local farmer's markets or to local restaurants. The older students may play a part in writing a business plan and managing the business. Any income generated could then be put back into the garden thereby making it a self-sustaining enterprise.
All in all, we are very excited about the Garden Project and all of the opportunities it affords our students and teachers.