By Brian Freiberger
Schoolcraft Elementary students starting next fall will learn part of their math, writing and science outdoors in an 8-by-16-foot greenhouse and outside classroom located within the school’s 45-by-45-foot courtyard.
The greenhouse and nearby classroom provide partially shaded teaching space, outdoor planters and measurement systems to track weather inside and outside of the greenhouse. It was made possible by a grant from Midwest Energy for $1,250.
The school is “trying to create real authentic experiences and engage our students in learning that will be meaningful,” said Schoolcraft Elementary Principal Matt Webster.
“This is a unique way to engage all of our grade levels in their ordinary standards but in a hands-on way.”
Five local families and farms have contributed to the building of this project including J & J Acres, P-Four Farms, Premier Melon Company, Walther Farms, and Wedel Nursery, Florist and Garden Center according to Webster, who thanked them for their service in the community. Wedel in turn thanked the upper elementary staff for their help throughout this project.
“The kids are excited; they’ve been walking by and peeking out the window for about two months now, watching it slowly evolve,” said Webster.
The project took three volunteer days according to Wedel, who will also be involved. “This generation has a chance to move onto agricultural careers,” said Wedel. “Too many kids have clean hands and outdoor activity has become less popular.”
Fourth grade teacher Kristin Caroselli mentioned that the greenhouse will be used for all kinds of projects such as testing fertilizers and soils. “It allows the kids to be passionate.“
“We’ve got the teacher experts that are here with us day to day and the experts in growing that are in and around our community who are going to make this an elite experience for the kids,“ said Webster.