The staff and students at the Abilities First School at the Straus Family Pavilion have recently begun working on The Garden Project! The hope is that the garden will become a schoolwide project that will also teach students about collaboration and community. The goal of The Garden Project is to build a vegetable and flower garden that can be utilized for teaching purposes in all curriculum areas – including vocational and life skills – AND serve as a therapeutic context to support physical well-being and emotional well-being.
There is thorough evidence that school gardens enhance ALL areas of learning. Garden activities for children and young adults have also been shown to reduce stress and decrease behavior problems! Because the New Windsor School serves a population that faces behavioral challenges, it is particularly important to provide positive experiences that not only develop competency, but have healing and therapeutic benefits.
So far, the elementary students in Class 3, with the help of occupational therapists Kathryn and Anthony, have invested quite a bit of time and effort in starting the garden. They’ve planted and cared for seedlings, constructed raised beds, and have been watering the garden! The students in Class 3 have enjoyed every step along the way and they are excited to see what happens when the marigolds, sunflowers, strawberries, and mini pumpkins they’ve planted FINALLY GROW!
The Garden Project is possible thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, whose gift was given to the Abilities First School at the Straus Family Pavilion. The staff and students are now able to enjoy a number of added opportunities – including the school garden – which otherwise would not have been funded. The school is most appreciative to the donor, and on behalf of Abilities First, we would like to say a big THANK YOU to this anonymous donor!