Ketcham Elementary students help create a huge outdoor learning garden.
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.