A hallmark characteristic of Morley’s garden committee is the sharing of knowledge and experiences gained through the garden with all teachers.
Morley Elementary in Burnaby has had a school garden up and running since 2015. They started with just two garden containers, but in the 2018/19 school year they were able to expand to seven containers thanks to a Farm to School BC grant. The greatest strength of Morley’s garden that contributes to its success is its well-established garden committee.
Back in 2015, there were three teachers involved in the garden committee. Every year teachers have been invited to join and this work has paid off as the committee has steadily grown to eight teachers. The committee meets on a regular basis throughout the school year. All eight teachers take an active role in utilizing and maintaining the garden, whether it’s connecting with the local gardening centre to buy plants with the Farm to School BC grant, or collectively determining how to organize and what to plant.
A hallmark characteristic of Morley’s garden committee is the sharing of knowledge and experiences gained through the garden with all teachers. Teachers with a vast knowledge of plants and gardening have the opportunity to mentor those who are newer to the garden; they also share their ideas for integrating the garden experiences into students’ learning. This sharing of knowledge strengthens the garden’s ability to survive and thrive as teachers come and go. Together the garden committee works towards a common goal of reaching the whole school community with the benefits of place-based learning in the school garden. This past school year, the Grade 7 graduation ceremony and reception was held in the school garden as an indication of how the garden has become as a memorable reminder of the time students spent at the school.
School gardens offer students so many learning opportunities – from science to math to art. In addition, students have the ability to get outdoors and experience hands-on learning. There is no doubt that school gardens are valuable learning tools, and Morley Elementary has overcome the challenges of long term sustainability of these initiatives.