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School garden flourishing at Sacred Hearts School

By Staff | May 21, 2015

Even the youngest students attending Sacred Hearts School enjoy hands-on curriculum in the school garden.

LAHAINA – School gardens are popping up all over Hawaii, including at Sacred Hearts School in Lahaina. Using an old community garden space that had long since grown over, Sacred Hearts is in the second year of turning that fallow ground into a place to grow food and minds.

This second year of hard work has seen a leap forward in terms of bringing the concepts of organic gardening and sustainability into the classrooms.

Sacred Hearts is part of the Maui School Garden Network and was recently one of the stops on a regional school garden tour in which like-minded individuals shared knowledge, experiences and ideas to support each other.

Workshops and garden work parties provide teachers, students and the general public with regular opportunities to learn. Support has come from other places as well.

Thanks to a grant given to SHS by the Augustine Educational Foundation in the amount of $3,600, many opportunities have been created for student learning. The grant has helped with professional development of teachers, learning journeys and curriculum for the students around the ideas of sustainability and gardening.

The growing success of the gardens would not have been possible without the funds to install a more efficient watering system and the ability to purchase materials that benefit students and teachers working in soil.

The main garden with six beds plus three large raised beds is available to every grade level. Students can enjoy casual interaction with the garden as well as specific classroom learning in a variety of disciplines, including math, science, English and Hawaiian culture.

An older raised bed has been revitalized for the Early Learning Center (preschool), and additional raised beds have been created for more hands-on curriculum for the youngest students attending Sacred Hearts.

The gardening has spilled out of the confines of the “garden” and is flourishing all over campus.

The grant money also allowed the school to gather all the necessary materials to launch an aquaponics system – a long-held dream that many at the school are excited to see come to fruition.

The community, parish and students are welcome to come help at work parties. The garden calendar will be available on the school website.