Kindergartners Maintain Family Garden

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COLUMBIA - Kindergartners at Blue Ridge Elementary School are taking a hands on approach to learning. The students are taking care of radishes in their brand new family garden.

On Earth Day, students from four kindergartner classes planted radishes. The task now is to watch and water these plants until they are ready to harvest.

This is a chance for kindergartner teacher Nancy Truesdell to share her love of gardening with her students.

"It goes from learning about what happens to a seed and how that grows to produce food and then what that food can do for them to keep them healthy," Truesdell said.

At the end of last year, Turesdell approached Blue Ridge Elementary Principal Kristen Palmer about adding a single garden box. But with the help of home-school communicator Jay Wiltshire, the two were able to expand the idea to include four garden boxes. Title 1 funds helped pay for the boxes, and the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture pitched in to build the boxes.

According to Wiltshire, the garden boxes serve several objectives. These include getting the community involved in student learning, and teaching young kids about what they are eating, what it takes to care for plants, and about what they are eating.

Some kids have even found new hobbies while learning about their radishes.

"I like planting the radishes and checking them everyday, so we know that they are doing good," kindergartner Reagan Rogers said.

The kindergartners will pick their radishes toward the middle of May. Sweet potato slips will be planted in their place so as first graders in the fall they have something new to learn about.