Chesnut’s Outdoor Classroom Ready for Alfresco Learning

2013 Chesnut Garden smallIf you haven’t been around back to the Chesnut Garden courtyard yet, you’ve got to check it out! Or, take a shortcut by watching this video made by local author and sustainable living activist Pattie Baker when she visited Chesnut Garden over the summer (but read on to see how we’ve expanded since).

Garden Leader Carissa Malone has kicked off the second year of Chesnut’s organic gardening program, which invites all classes to come out to plant, harvest and taste vegetables, fruits and herbs. At the end of last year we added a “How Did It Taste?” board (made from salvaged materials and old baking sheets) where students can record and observe each other’s experiences tasting the garden’s crops. If you’d like your children to visit, please encourage your teacher to schedule his/her class with Ms. Malone by emailing Teachers are also encouraged to visit the garden for self-guided class tours (garden map and garden-themed stories can be found in the Ladybug Mailbox).

This weekend a half-dozen parents put in the final big effort to complete the outdoor classroom meant to facilitate instruction in the garden. On the wall opposite the garden, PTA Clean & Beautiful Co-Chair Andy Hirst had recently mounted a mirror donated by parent Elizabeth Davis, where teachers can use dry erase markers to illustrate a lesson. After last year’s collection of tree stump donations from the Hixon and McEwen families, we were ready to get to work installing a mini amphitheater facing the mirror “chalkboard.”

Whether to study science, math, language arts, history or just to get some fresh air while they learn, we hope Chesnut students will all have an opportunity to enjoy this new facility. If you like the idea, please encourage your child’s teacher to utilize the outdoor classroom, or to email us at for farm-to-school lesson plans which incorporate the garden into multidisciplinary, standards-based curriculum.

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