Ketcham Elementary students help create a huge outdoor learning garden.

 April 26, 2016
On a warm, overcast morning last week, Ketcham Elementary School received a very dirty makeover. Volunteers, along with a few older students, filled a half-dozen fruit and vegetable beds with soil, hammered a birdhouse into shape and set a pair of young fruit trees in place.Posts for a split-rail fence were jammed into the ground, and amid the noise of saws and shovels, one Ketcham preschooler just had to know: “Are we building a house?”Not quite. Ketcham, in the Anacostia neighborhood of Southeast Washington, was building a garden with the help of a nonprofit organization called Real School Gardens.

Founded 10 years ago in Fort Worth, Texas, the group has partnered with more than 100 schools to build gardens that teachers can use for hands-on lessons in science, math and even language arts. This is the group’s second garden in the Washington area, following a cold, wet dig at Beacon Heights Elementary School in Riverdale, Maryland, last fall.

A garden can be more than just a place where plants grow and flowers bloom, it turns out.

Read more.



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Out Teach, formerly REAL School Gardens, provides professional development for elementary school teachers. Out Teach prepares them to use school gardens, outdoor classrooms, and green schoolyards to improve instruction through three-dimensional project-based learning, and outdoor experiential inquiry-based education. Professional learning with Out Teach improves hands-on science and STEM education through instructional coaching and digital education resources and improves 21st Century skills.