Students at Glenwood Heights Primary School were greeted by a familiar visitor earlier this month who came and taught them how to harvest vegetables from the school’s garden.
Battle Ground Public Schools Board President and former teacher Mark Watrin said gardening is a vital skill for the kids to learn.
“I’ve always been a big gardener personally,” Watrin said. “I was a teacher out at the CASEE Center, which was … science-based there, and we had a big three-acre organic garden there.”
Since Glenwood Heights is close to his house, Watrin decided he could utilize his skills as a gardener to teach the kids how to grow their own produce.
“I grew up on the east side of the mountains but had a big family garden that our family literally used to can and put food away for the whole year,” he said.
He said gardening is a great fit for science education for a reason.
“We’ve kind of worried about kids getting so much time on a screen and a phone and getting them outside to do their learning is extra inspiring,” Watrin said.
The students seemed to enjoy the harvest experience as Watrin noted they “had some amazing super-large sized carrots that most kids had never seen.”
The students also dissected sunflower heads. The first and second graders came prepared with their own questions.
Watrin said he wants the kids to have some “ownership” of their garden, which will take place through the help of several teachers. He said the teachers and kids will plant spring bulbs so they can participate in the act of planting things. They will be able to come back and see the results.
He also wants the kids to bring their own ideas on what they would like to see in the garden.
“In their science curriculum that they’ve got (with) their science kits in their building, they do some soil studies, and so we have a compost bin close by, and they help take the compost out of the bin and put it into the garden, and explore some of the compost critters like worms and isopods,” Watrin said.
He said that rather than adults doing the activity for them, he enjoys the kids taking the lead instead.
“I’m willing to roll with the punches and see what ideas the kids come up with and help support that,” Watrin said.
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