Planting seeds of friendship

Victor Duran

With a shovel in one hand and a rake in the other, Greg Pittenger’s Botany class and Charlotte Mann’s Special Education class dug holes and shoveled dirt for their Garden Rehab Day on October 30th.

Gardening is one of the productive activities on the agenda of Special Education’s Individual Education Plan. Each child in a public school who receives special education must have an IEP that generates opportunities for teachers, parents, and students to work together to better educational results for children with disabilities.

“The students really enjoy planting seeds and watching them grow in a garden they can call their own,” says Special Education teacher Charlotte Mann. “It’s a great activity for the students to learn how to care for something and watch it progress and become entirely different and beautiful.”

In its effectiveness, the IEP brought the Special Education and Botany class together to work with one another.

“It’s good for the students to get out of their comfort zone and work with new people, discovering personalities they never thought were there,” said Pittenger.

Last summer Pittenger and his Botany class constructed five raised bed frames, rectangular sections specifically designed for gardening, in front of the “X” building.

On Oct. 30th, the combined classes of Botany and Special Education continued to tend to their garden with a mission to reseed and fertilize it for the Winter. The students used manure as compost to fertilize the soil. They planted many seeds including: radish, carrot, lettuce, and pea.

“When the vegetables are good and ripe, we make various breads such as: zucchini, carrot, banana, and pumpkin,” says Mann.

“It was a fun and interesting new experience,” said Botany student Luis Lopez. “I think the two classes should continue to work together in the future.”

The IEP created an event that was successful in teaching students the importance of teamwork and encouraging them to be more involved in the lives of others different from their own, sharing ideas, discovering new personalities and creating friendships.