Eastover Elementary is proud to host an extensive student gardening program. Students plant, maintain, and harvest various fruits and vegetables during the school year in several sets of raised garden beds, located by the school playgrounds. In addition, students plant various fruits and vegetables during the winter months, using a hydroponic growing system.
Garden Goals & Features
The Eastover Gardens provide endless opportunities to engage our students in hands-on activities to enhance their learning. The gardens also provide students with opportunities to work collaboratively, problem solve, use all of their senses, and appreciate nature.
Our hope is that by giving students the opportunity to grow their own vegetables in school and then enjoy eating the products from their hard work, they will gain a new appreciation for locally grown produce and fresh foods. During an age when kids are bombarded with fast food, processed food, and a myriad of unhealthy food options, we are trying to provide students with the tools and motivation necessary to make healthier choices when they eat. We want to shift the way our students think and act when it comes to food. Getting children to willingly eat vegetables may be a difficult task, but we believe that getting them involved in the growing process will make them more invested, interested, and excited about fruits and vegetables.
Eastover students also participate in the indoor classroom hydroponics program, where they get to grow fruits and vegetables year-round using this alternative growing method. This is an opportunity for students to learning about sustainable growing methods while applying their math, science, social studies, and language arts skills.
The Eastover Gardens are used an extension of the classroom. For that reason, the garden is used to host several projects that link directly to core curriculum at all grade levels. Students learn about science (life cycles, ecosystems, plants, wildlife, etc.), social studies (economics, Michigan, Native Americans, etc.), mathematics (measurement, symmetry, data analysis, etc.), and language arts (journaling, research, reading, etc). Even the art, music, Spanish, and physical education teachers use the gardens periodically for their lessons.
The Eastover Gardens also provide opportunities for students to work alongside teachers, parents, and community members. In addition to having a committed staff and student body, the PTO and the local community also takes pride in this special learning location.
To help students to learn about the health and environmental benefits of eating locally grown fresh produce, students also learn using the Eastover Mobile Kitchen. Using ingredients harvested from the outdoor student garden and the indoor hydroponics gardens, students learn how to cook healthy meals in their classrooms alongside teachers and volunteers.In the spring, Eastover students celebrate nutrition month by participating in a school-wide "Eat a Rainbow" contest. Students are encouraged to eat fruits and vegetables from all the colors of the rainbow, to maximize their nutrition intake.