Horizon at Sandy Point

Friday, April 30, 2010

Inside out thoughts: gardens as schools

Thinking about elections makes me think of what I might do if I were in charge. The people I would most like to influence are all under ten. It's hard to work with people of voting age.

But for the under tens, the classroom would be a garden full of trees and food they would grow for themselves. Include some chickens, ducks and rabbits, a couple goats and rabbits if there's enough room. If there's only room in the school yard for vegetables, we would make that do. But children love chicken, so we would try to make space for a coop; and maybe we'll get eggs too.

Among the fruits, let's have mangoes, oranges, a lime tree for sure, avocado, guava and good old fashioned downs. A corner clump of bananas and plantain. Then, raised beds and bins for vegetables. Seasonings in sunny window boxes. Vining beans and tomatoes. Pumpkins, ochroes, pigeon peas, sorrel in season. Let's learn by trading with neighbours and neighbouring schools: not just the produce, but the techniques, seeds and starter plants, and the lessons learned. Then graduate to cooking what is grown.

Lloyd Best had an idea of schools in the panyard. The truth is that kids learn everywhere. Teachers are simply the people who facilitate that process. If all you have is a panyard, make music. If you have a shed, make art. If you have a garden and can feed yourself, you are the building block of a powerful nation.

Let's look at the 4H Clubs of Point Fortin and the southwest peninsula. Their voluntary project puts children in gardens after school. Think how powerful it might be to turn the garden into the school.

1 comment:

  1. Lets hope Asa Wright's environmental education programme can do the same thing in Arima.