The Lower School Garden is an outdoor classroom where our students study ecology, connect with nature, learn about healthy eating and where their food comes from, and learn to take care of the environment. The Garden is a special hands-on learning environment in which all of our Lower School students play a role. Each grade level, Pre-Kindergarten through five, maintains this green space through various hands-on activities such as planting and tending vegetables and flowers, tilling soil, weeding, watering, pruning, and harvesting. The Lower School garden is a fully functioning garden where students learn through experience. Much of the food we grow is served in our school lunches. The Garden is fully integrated into the Lower School curriculum and allows Brimmer students to engage in authentic scientific observation and inquiry in an outdoor setting, right on campus.
The Garden is pesticide and herbicide-free and features raised vegetable beds, rain collecting barrels, and compost stations. It also contains a beautiful collection of native perennial plants that supports the native pollinator population.
Following are examples of how the Garden is used:
Pre-K: Pre-kindergarten studies the growth cycle of potatoes in class and then plants potato seedlings in the spring to be harvested the following fall.
Kindergarten: While studying the life cycle of plants Kindergarteners grow sunflower seedlings under indoor grow lights and transplant the seedlings in the Garden. The following year, students collect the seeds from the adult sunflowers to be planted later in the year.
First Grade: First grade students grow various flowers and vegetable seedlings indoors and transplant them when the weather warms. The students regularly return to the Garden to observe their plants’ growth.
Second Grade: As part of the study of soil science, second graders compost the plant waste produced in the Garden. Later in the year, the students replenish the raised beds with fresh compost produced in the Garden. Students also plant and tend to a variety of vegetables to be harvested over the summer and in the fall.
Third Grade: During their insect unit in science, the students observe different varieties of bees and record their observations of bee behavior. Students also build and install mason bee houses to support the native mason bee population.
Fourth and Fifth Grade: As part of their environmental ColLab experience, each spring students plot out plant spacing in the raised beds, grow seedlings under indoor grow lights to be transplanted outdoors, and engage in weekly maintenance of the Garden so that it is ready for a productive summer.