Photo courtesy of Jill Taylor Spero.
1113 Prince of Peace
Prince of Peace second graders Fin Unnoppet (left) and Abby Guillory (right) with guest speaker Joyce Darby at the school’s raised beds and greenhouse.
Second and fourth graders at Prince of Peace School are digging in the dirt, examining worms and eating radishes in the classroom – all with the approval of their teacher. These junior scientists are part of a new, interactive science curriculum utilizing the school’s greenhouse and raised beds.
The hands-on program was developed and is taught by school parent Mary Guillory, who has an interest in teaching kids just how food gets from farm to table.
“I was surprised to realize that many kids today have no understanding as to where their food comes from,” she said.
The program adds a new dimension to the students’ science and nutrition curriculum.
“The greenhouse is an extension of our unique elementary science lab program,” said Principal Connie Angstadt. “We are so fortunate to have committed, involved parents like Mary who can enhance our curriculum offerings in such creative ways when many schools are cutting programs.”
Guillory recently brought local farmer Joyce Darby to Prince of Peace to speak to her classes about farming. Darby farms 17 acres in Montevallo, practically by herself, and strives to create a self-sustaining, organic environment.
Not only are the students studying plant growth, but also the factors that affect it. They conduct experiments with irrigation, fertilization and pest management, debate the pros and cons of worms, and dissect plants.
“Seeing an image of a flower and its parts in a book cannot compare to actually seeing and touching it,” said Guillory.
Now these elementary farmers are growing radishes, pumpkins, squash, strawberries, basil and various flowers in the raised beds. A mango and a papaya tree have also been planted; both should bear fruit before the students graduate eighth grade. The radish crop was successful, and the students were intrigued when they saw the red vegetable peeking out of the soil.