A new garden on the College of Charleston campus is providing a rich bounty of educational and teaching opportunities.
The recently completed sensory garden at the College’s N.E. Miles Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) was created as part of the Farm-to-School Initiative, an educational and outreach program housed at the College and funded by Boeing South Carolina.
The Farm-to-School Initiative is directed by professor Olivia Thompson ’99 and operates out of the College’s Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Center for Livable Communities.
Designed to be kid-friendly, the new garden includes walkways, a butterfly garden, herbs, vegetables and other features. Thompson says the new space is a perfect complement to the initiative’s goals of teaching children where food comes from and establishing connections between farms and farmers and the people and institutions that rely on their crops.
The garden will provide immediate educational benefits, as it will be used as part of the Summer STEAM Institute taking place at the College from June 15 through July 24, 2015. (STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.) Operated by Engaging Creative Minds, the six-week summer camp is designed to assist students in learning standards-based curriculum while working alongside local artists and other professionals.
The garden was designed by Nick Tittle of Surplus Permaculture Design and is being built by Tittle and public health fellows Alex Way and Greta Cappelmann.
Candace Jaruszewicz, director of ECDC, says the garden supports the school’s commitment to integrating the natural world in children’s daily lives and learning. It will also provide learning opportunities for teachers and teachers in training. Participants at two upcoming education workshops at ECDC will visit the new garden as part of a hands-on professional development session.
And Jaruszewicz expects the children at ECDC to flock to this new outdoor oasis. “The new garden will provide the children with a beautiful space and many opportunities to continue developing their knowledge about native plants and learning how to care for and harvest edible crops,” she says.