At JCDSRI, all our students in Pre-K to fifth grade participate in our hands-on, award-winning gardening program.
Students are able to engage in meaningful outdoor science activities while incorporating the value of shomrei adamah (guardians of the earth) into their learning. Our Judaic Studies curriculum is woven into our work in the garden. For example, we talked about the “Seven Species” of Israel and then studied varying biomes, discovering what kinds of plants grow best in various climates
Students wondered whether we could successfully grow any of Israel’s native plants here in Rhode Island. We learned that this was challenging due to the vastly different climates and soil composition between New England and Israel.
The whole school has worked tirelessly to study and protect our native bee population. After learning that honeybees have recently been placed on the endangered species list due to pesticide use and destruction of habitat, all the students helped to plant a beautiful honeybee and butterfly garden and learned the importance of protecting these vital insects.
This year, each grade will be responsible for mastering and taking ownership of a garden bed, practicing vital skills in experiential learning and allowing children of all ages to get outside, dig in the dirt and create something beautiful for the adamah – for the earth!
ALISON MORROW is the kindergarten teacher at JCDSRI