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Over the past 14 months, the grounds at Marshall Elementary School have been undergoing a makeover. Overgrown bushes have been torn out, rusted railings painted, rotting trees removed, the ivy covering windows has been removed, and healthy perennials have been planted in the front and back of the school. Many additional projects are underway, including the expansion of our Learning Garden and planning for an eventual outdoor classroom.
School gardens have been proven to help students learn better and increase their test scores as well as promote teamwork and create a sense of community.
We are taking our Outdoor Learning Garden to the next level!
We envision a space where students can interact with nature as a form of learning. Studies show a significant benefit when nature is incorporated into a school’s curriculum and we are proud to be a partner in developing this teaching method here at Marshall.
Children and Gardens
Gardens can serve as living laboratories in which students see and experience firsthand what they are learning and, in turn, apply that knowledge to real-world situations. When students engage in hands-on gardening lessons, they show an increase in positive attitudes towards content material and learning in general.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension states that studies show that the education acquired in the garden can increase students’ overall academic performance:
- Students who engage in school gardens show significant gains in overall grade point average, specifically in math and science.
- Teachers believe that implementing new learning styles can help students learn more effectively.
- Students expand their ways of thinking or habits of mind to include curiosity, flexibility, open-mindedness, informed skepticism, creativity and critical thinking.
Marshall School’s Learning Garden
Over the coming year, we plan to reorganize the Learning Garden to make it easier for teachers, students, and parent volunteers to play, study, and work in the garden. We are also planning improvements to the front of the school with new plantings, painting, and clean-up. Finally, we are in the beginning stages of planning a new Outdoor Classroom area with tables, benches and outdoor easels.
The Maplewood Rotary Club has generously donated a new garden shed to store the tools, lesson plans, and materials teachers need to engage students in meaningful lessons and outdoor explorations all over the campus.
Marshall School Principal, Mrs. Bonita Samuels says,
"As we continue to expand learning opportunities in and around Marshall, our goal is to empower students to think about their learning beyond the classroom. Outdoor learning allows students to connect with the world. It encourages students to solve problems in innovative ways. Being outdoors can also spark brain development, enhance social skills and create a sense of community. In addition, we get to know so much about students depending on how we engage them. With the right mindset, adequate supplies and a little creativity, the possibilities are endless! We are grateful to Maplewood Rotary for their support."