Located in the courtyard at the center of the Lower School building, the St. Paul’s Community Garden was created by our community, for the community. Conceived in the fall of 2015, faculty, staff, and students have worked this past spring and summer to transform the garden into a space to nurture bodies and minds and foster educational opportunities for students in all divisions.
“Children learn by touching, feeling, and experiencing. The Community Garden is a place where that and so much more is happening,” said Nancy Dimitriades, Lower School Science Teacher.
The Community Garden includes a greenhouse, native and non-native animals and plants, a chicken coup, garden beds, a composting area, and pond with outdoor learning space. “The space will enhance our integrated curriculum, provide summer activities, welcome admissions tours, and further the Green Committee’s goals,” said Susan Kearney, Assistant Head for Academics and Innovation.
Lead by Dimitriades, Middle School Science Teacher Howdy Knipp, and Director of STEM Initiatives Mick Scott, faculty have developed a unified curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade.
This fall Lower School students will plant, tend, and harvest the garden. The 5th grade class will extend their tree project into the garden. Middle and Lower School students will work together on a composting project. The Upper School will enhance and winterize the chicken coop, and design and build a tool shed, potting station, and more.
Lower School will participate in No Waste Wednesdays in October where they will pack environmentally friendly lunches including cloth napkin, reusable cutlery, and compostable food so leftovers may be tossed in the compost bays of the garden.
“And it’s not just about science,” said Dimitriades. Students will engage with the garden during art units, story walks, nutrition units, journal writing, modern language vocabulary, and more.
The garden will also be a location for events such as potato, tomato, strawberry and blueberry picking days, where students are invited to hear a story, share a recipe, and pick produce.
This summer harvest from the garden was donated to Manna House, a nonprofit organization that offers assistance and support to the homeless, poor, and needy of Baltimore. Lower School students donate monthly to the Manna House Lunches for the Hungry program.
“The Garden is a wonderful example of the School’s Annual Fund dollars at work, and we are grateful for alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends who give to the Annual Fund and help make projects like the Community Garden possible,” said Alden Reith, Director of the Annual Fund and Parent Relations.