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Roberts Road Elementary Learns As It Grows

Roberts Road Elementary Garden Club What started out as a simple club has grown into so much more. The Roberts Road Elementary (RRE) Garden Club is in its third year and is continuously working to encourage student interests. The club meets weekly after-school to care for and monitor the RRE garden. It consists of third- through fifth-grade students who use the garden as a springboard for interdisciplinary activities.

In the beginning, the club’s main goal was to get kids outside and working with their hands. Over time that focus has shifted to include other subjects. The main focus is still the garden, but now students explore other topics such as healthy living, agriculture, biodiversity, and even art inspired by nature. It has transitioned into a time where the group can come together and learn about topics that they may not have the opportunity to learn about during the traditional school day. Members also get a bit of free time each meeting to talk with one another and create a community.

“Friendships are made between kids that may not have ever met had they not been in Garden Club,” RRE Teacher and Garden Club Sponsor Sarah Stumpner said.

To be a part of the Garden Club, all interested students had to complete an application at the beginning of the year. This year over 90 students turned in applications. In an effort to keep the club small and close-knit, a panel of teachers worked to narrow the group to 24 students. These students planted seeds in the school garden and are responsible for its maintenance throughout the school year. In the end, they will sample the foods that have grown.

“My hope for the members of the Garden Club is that they find something that interests them during our time together, whether that is something related to the topics that we teach, or something they learn from a friend,” Stumpner said.