ISD’S New Garden Shed Encourages Science Observations, Connections to Nature, Healthy Eating

The International School at Dundee (ISD) recently inaugurated its new garden shed, a combined gift of the 2018 and 2019 5th grade classes.

At ISD, kindergarteners work in the garden preparing beds, mulching, and planting potatoes, pumpkins, wildflowers, dill, and onions. When those kindergarteners become first graders, they enjoy the fruits of their labor at harvest time. Outside their classroom windows, first graders also have a pollinator garden where they study the full monarch butterfly life cycle and record their observations in their science journals. In second grade, students plant a vegetable garden as part of an International Baccalaureate (IB) partnership with the Stamford Museum and Nature Center.

The new shed, which replaces a much smaller one, will provide much-needed functional space to support the students’ work in the garden.

Children who garden can demonstrate higher achievement in science, increased self-esteem, greater responsibility for the planet, and more appreciation for fresh vegetables and fruit. Also, what kid doesn’t like to get outside and get dirty?

The shed was introduced to the school community at a ceremony just before the start of ISD’s annual Ice Cream Social in September, a well-attended annual event that kicks off the school year. A group of current and past ISD students joined ISD Principal Teresa Ricci, PTA Co-President and Garden Chair Angie Hartofilis, PTA Co-President John Fisher, past PTA Co-President Patricia Carey, and kindergarten teacher Jane Freeda to cut the ribbon.

ISD would like to thank the students who raised the donated funds, the kindergarten teachers who worked with the ISD Garden Chair to choose and acquire the shed, and Mrs. Ricci, school custodians, officials from the Town of Greenwich and Board of Education, and parents and friends who supported the project.

The class of 2019 raised its funds by selling wreaths. The class of 2018 raised funds by selling personalized note cards, organizing a bake sale, and benefiting from the proceeds of special photography sessions and restaurant food purchases.

The ceremony included a heartfelt tribute reflecting the school’s vision for the use of the shed, which was written and read by Ms. Hartofilis:

It is my hope that our children at ISD:
get dirty
have the wind blow through their hair
and the sunshine warm their faces.
May the rain damped their clothes.
I hope they plant a seed, watch it grow and enjoy the taste of a fresh veggie or the sight of a colorful flower.
I hope they find a wiggly worm when they prepare the soil in the spring.
May they sweat when pushing a heavy wheel barrel across the garden.
I hope they laugh with a friend.
I hope that our children grow along with our ISD garden.
May they all experience the magic of the plants, insects, birds and all that nature has to offer.
May they wonder.
May they explore.
May they create memories that lead to an appreciation of nature that leads to their desire to care for the earth as they grow older.