This week’s school spotlight is Kellybrook Elementary in North Kansas City.
It’s been fun watching the gardens at Kellybrook grow over the years, from just a few raised beds, to a wonderfully designed outdoor classroom space. School secretary, Karen Lambing, leads the garden projects with the help of her husband. She asks students what they want to plant and throughout the growing season shows them how to properly water, weed and harvest the garden.
One thing that was very important to Mrs. Lambing was that students felt they had ownership over the gardens. She asked them to come up with a few different names for the garden and then the entire school voted on one.
The votes were counted and the gardens were officially named “The Learning Patch”
I interviewed Karen Lambing to hear more about her experience leading the gardens at Kellybrook Elementary.
How are the gardens used at Kellybrook?
Teachers have incorporated the garden with science curriculum including life cycle of plants and pollinator habitats. Art classes use the garden for specific lessons and inspiration. Classes use the garden for free reading and writing times and our social worker and counselors use the garden therapeutically as a place to redirect students. The gardens are also used by students and staff alike for eating lunch and holding classes outside when weather permits.
Do you have any funny or inspiring garden stories from teachers or students?
Students see me in the hallway during the day and ask when they can work in the garden again.
What are some challenges you have in the garden?
The challenge we have is keeping students occupied while waiting their turn to plant. In addition, our beds are only 8 feet long, so we can only let 8 students work at a time. Another challenge is raising funds for future expansions/improvements to the garden.
How are parents involved in the gardens?
Parents and students come visit the garden during summer months and know they are welcome to take any vegetables home that are ready to be picked. In addition we have parents who help water the garden during the summer.
Good work Kellybrook! I look forward to seeing what’s next for your gardens!