Brookshire Elementary, in a temporary home while the permanent Brookshire is rebuilt, is now the site of at least 13 grow boxes, and they are flourishing, according to Healthy School Team Leader Randi Topps. In the past, Brookshire has housed two gardens and several grow boxes to teach healthy eating, language arts (letter of the week, describing), math (measuring, counting), and the science of growing things including the seed to flower to fruit/vegetable, and back to seed cycle. Students are amazed to find out where their fruits and vegetables actually come from. They learn that vegetables come in some surprising colors, have many different smells, and they also have an opportunity to try some healthy fruits and vegetables that they have never tasted before. They are proud to have planted and cared for these living things, and learn responsibility in the process. Several teachers from Kindergarten through fourth grade, including three ESE classes have planted, cared for, and harvested plants this year. We sent at least 10 boxes to the Winter Park Harvest Festival.
The student comments are testament to the importance of this project and the impact on the students. Our teachers truly appreciate the Winter Park Health Foundation and Florida Hospital’s contribution of grow boxes, the opportunity to show their success at the Winter Park Harvest Festival, and the participation of parent volunteers. They also attribute much of the success of this program to one very special parent volunteer who has put many hours into teaching classes, providing supplies, coordinating the gardens and grow boxes, and insuring all the plants survive. Many thanks from Brookshire to Ruth Buhrle!