Bridgehampton Union Free School – Nourishing Children by Nourishing Plants
Agricultural sciences and botany are popular subjects in schools everywhere, but what happens when the motivation and interest of the students exceeds the capabilities of the facility they are provided? This was the case at Bridgehampton Union Free School, a small pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school set in an area with a centuries-old agricultural history. Here, the kids had a strong desire to learn but unfortunately also had a lack of growing space. The school found that a Pro Solar Star™ Greenhouse from Growers Supply was the answer they were looking for.
Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz, a teacher at Bridgehampton, says the school “has made a commitment to promote good nutritional practices and healthy eating habits in school-aged children.” With a lack of growing space, the students and teachers were forced to grow their crops on a plant stand with all artificial lighting in an unheated storage area in the school’s basement. The students were having little success and needed a better growing space to enhance their learning.
After receiving a recommendation from a local farmer, who is also a parent at the school, Carmack-Fayyaz and Bridgehampton Union Free School chose a Pro Solar Star Greenhouse as their new laboratory, growing space and classroom. Carmack-Fayyaz explains, “As a place to teach students botany and agricultural production, the greenhouse is invaluable.”
Due to the large open space the greenhouse provides, Bridgehampton Union Free School has found some surprise benefits of the structure. Says Carmack-Fayyaz, “Ironically, the greenhouse has become our largest classroom space in the school. It has been used for meetings, fundraisers and for growing produce for our school cafeteria.” She continues, “The greenhouse has provided a wonderful learning space for a group of motivated students who are quite unique and do not necessarily fall within the mainstream of the student population.”
The Bridgehampton Union Free School was able to outfit their greenhouse with all the accessories they needed to create the ideal growing environment for their students. Some of these accessories include a heater, exhaust fans and thermostat. Carmack-Fayyaz concludes, “The greenhouse has created an environment which not only nourishes plants, but also nourishes children. The greenhouse and garden have created close friendships among our students, who come regularly on weekends and during the summer to spend time taking care of the plants. We are very happy.”
Have you seen firsthand how growing can be an educational tool for children and young adults? Do you know of any schools in your area that use a greenhouse as a part of their curriculum?