“We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” This meaningful quote from David Brower perfectly describes how The International Preschools’ community feels about taking care of the Earth. We, as teachers, staff members, and parents, strive to take care of the Earth through modeling for our children and students, so that they too can take care of the Earth for their children.
In 2015, an opportunity presented itself for both students and teachers to work together in caring for the Earth. An IPS family made a generous donation to our school to help create a rooftop garden at our 45th Street location. Space was made on the playground for planters, which were placed on the walls and on the floor with child-friendly signs to identify flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The plan was for the garden to create year-round curriculum and hands-on activities for our students and staff to participate in.
As predicted, the rooftop garden provided this and so much more. Throughout the year, the children assist in gardening tasks such as tilling the soil and planting seeds; later, they harvest the fruits and vegetables and not only taste the foods, but use them in cooking as well. The garden adds to the year-long science curriculum by presenting concrete objects for preschoolers to touch and observe during every season of the year.
Junior Kindergarten teacher Ms. Robyn has led the initiative to facilitate the rooftop garden, working to create curriculum and share her knowledge with students and teachers in the Green (3s), Pre-K (4s), and Junior K (4s/5s) classrooms. Over the next few weeks, in honor of Earth Day, Ms. Robyn will visit these classrooms and lead the children in a variety of garden-related science projects and experiments: compost creations and observations of the worms’ role in the biodegrading of certain objects; learning about what plants need to grow (i.e. sunlight, water); and constructing a terrarium using soil, pebbles, plants, and recycled bottles.
In May, the second annual “planting party” will take place at the school, where families are invited to join the IPS staff and help tend to the garden. Last year’s gathering was a great success, and we are looking forward to another amazing event this year!
To learn more about the Rooftop Garden Initiative, click here.