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Unique outside classroom offers students at Magnolia School lessons in STEM

Posted at 6:12 PM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-24 18:17:47-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — On Tharpe Street behind this fence, you'll find a garden filled with food and growing thoughts.

"It's like really cool because I've never had a garden," said Emilie Clemons, a third-grade student at Magnolia School.

It's a small school with 60 kids in grades kindergarten through eighth. The campus doesn't have a lot of resources. The one thing Magnolia School doesn't lack is kids with green thumbs and a whole lot of turnips.

Of course, they got some help from Michele Madison. She owns Farming the Future. It's an organization that teaches STEM to kids of all ages.

"It's a hundred square foot garden. It's all-inclusive. It comes with seeds, soil, and everything you need. And all of the guides and the curriculum that you need to integrate teaching science with the garden," said Madison.

She donated this garden. It's something Juniper Bambach — a teacher at Magnolia School said she couldn't be more thrilled to have.

"The fact that the kids can be a part of all of it you know and be able to see what's happening, see what's growing."

Teachers have access to lesson plans about plants, insects, and their role in nature. Children get their hands dirty — all assigned a different task and learn important lessons. It's a living classroom outside.

"We're not here just teaching the students how to garden and we're not here teaching the students to the farm. We're using farming and we're using gardening to teach core science concepts and important 21st-century skills," said Madison.

And the reward is priceless.

"I feel like it helps them feel empowered and like they do have control over these things and these are things they can do in their lives and you know hopefully foster their love for gardening," said Bambach.