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How a Colorado School Keeps Students Connected to Nature

How a Colorado School Keeps Students Connected to Nature

Smart Garden 27 in a school library.

Being connected with nature and learning while having fun - it's a win/win situation, right? Well that's certainly the approach Preston Middle School is taking. This school is using our Smart Garden 27 to engage students in learning about gardening, sustainability and eating healthily. We spoke to the school’s Media Specialist, Tracey Winey, to learn more.

How did you find out about Click & Grow?

Twitter! I saw a few tweets and was intrigued. I started to follow Click and Grow. Then, I compared Click & Grow to other indoor gardens and loved the ease and variety that Click and Grow offers.

Why did you choose the Smart Garden 27? 

I chose Click and Grow because it’s easy to set up and grow plants with. I also liked the variety so I took a chance and messaged them directly. I spoke with Triin who is amazing and so easy to work with, not to mention kind, generous and encouraging.

Woman observing the Click & Grow Smart Garden 27 in a school library.

How do you use Click & Grow as an educational tool? 

Oh my gosh! I had no idea how much of an educational tool Click and Grow would be. Firstly, anything in my library is tied to literacy. So, I bought all sorts of books on soil, farming, gardening, weather, etc. 

Then, kids started telling me about their gardens, or their grandparents’ gardens or their desire to garden. I have made so many connections with kids that have started with Click and Grow.  Then, I have kids help fill the tanks and harvest the produce. Students pick and pack the harvested items. I distribute to students who receive bags of food from the Food Bank. This way the students and their families get a little fresh produce with their canned goods.  

Then, we have a raffle for who else gets to take produce home. We did a school-wide Google form and let the kids and staff vote on what to grow next. Finally, I made a google slide show of the Preston Community’s plants and vegetables. It has been a super fun way to get to know one another and develop a sense of community.  

What do you and your students enjoy most about using Click & Grow?

I enjoy the community aspect. It is wonderful to connect with students and staff. Even people who have zero interest in gardening will stop and chat about it. I also very much enjoy sharing my love of gardening and eating fresh vegetables. 

I hope this inspires everyone to add a few more veggies into their family’s diet or treat families to fresh veggies or inspire families who can to start their own garden. Students love the progress and how fast things grow. Kids come every day to monitor the progress. They also feel like they are acquiring a new skill and becoming healthier!

Smart Garden 27 set up in a school library.

In your opinion, why is it good for kids to learn about gardening and sustainability?

I am passionate about nourishing our bodies. I think the body thrives when we eat well. It is a small amount, relatively speaking, but even to have students taste freshly grown vegetables is a victory! In my library I want to grow readers, curiosity, community and vegetables! I have been a vegetarian for 32 years. I am not against anyone eating meat, I just really enjoy vegetables - the fresher, more local, the better!

What advice would you give other parents or teachers about using Click & Grow?

Find a way to do it! Include students and staff as much as possible. Advertise it! Let people know what you are doing. Be willing to listen to kids’ stories and encourage them to garden, or at least eat vegetables!

Thanks, Tracey, for taking the time to share your experiences with us! To read more testimonials from Click & Growers around the world, click here

Need help choosing a Smart Garden? Read our ultimate smart garden guide here.

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Photo and biography of Tracey Winey.

Image credits: Tracey Winey

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