Gateway Greening Blog
May 24, 2016 | Tags: Gateway Greening Youth Programs
Place to Sit
Often we recieve donations for such benches that are odd and we find ways to make them work.
What are school gardens without a place to sit? As a school garden educator, seating is the first thing I tackle when I go into a new school garden setting. I have quickly learned that gardens that do not accommodate seating for the whole class run poorly. When classes come out to the garden they need the same kind of structure and routine as they do when they are indoors. Having a place to sit and center before starting garden related activities is an essential step to having a successful outdoor experience.
Here one school parent is helping with this seemingly complicated installation process.
Yup, it works.
Seat is good to go.
There are many options when it comes to outdoors seating as you see below. My favorite type by far is the one we make ourselves using stumps from forestry department. I like that it is easy and free to create but I mostly love it because it allows each student to have his or her stump. Crowding on a limited seating outdoors is often a problem and inadvertently leads students squabbling over something.
Our outdoor classroom at Shaw VPA from earlier this spring.
We do not have a hammock at any of the school gardens that I work at but I have always contemplated it. Why stop at seating when you can be swinging?
Picture from earlier this spring when we didn’t have much to garden we did lot of garden art. I love stumps but various seating options are important for this reason.
A very quiet classroom on a Saturday afternoon.
Even little robin likes this one.
My favorite configuration for seating as it accomodates for large and small groups.
Someone placed this bench under the oak a few years ago at Bell and it’s been there since. These kids think it’s there to help them climb their beloved tree. They mostly use it as a ladder or a stage.
This infant comes with his mom at Mallinckrodt school garden and brings his own seating. His mom weeds and plants while he sits and waves at everyone!
Shaw VPA got new picnic benches as part of their garden awards from Gateway Greening this spring. They have been well worn already for all the use they have seen already.
…and sometimes it looks like lady bugs. Art teacher at Shaw has done a fabulous job with embracing the garden and incorporating it into her art curriculum.
Art class outdoors looks like this.
This beautiful artwork lives in the garden at Shaw VPA.
Sometimes teachers just use what they have. Ms. Davie holding together her group of girls as they sat on the ground to finish their pre-test.
These tables are so cute and they work well for small group activities.
Tiny table for 4 doubles its capacity but this accommodation does not come without squabbles of who they can or can not sit next to.
Student found writing under the grape arbor.
One way to use stepping stones.
Place to sit
These students won ice-cream with the school’s principal. Having variety of seating options makes garden inviting to larger groups of users.
At Shaw VPA teachers ask cafetaria staff to brown bag students’ lunches so they can sit in the garden to eat. Did you know you can request this option for your students?
A new arrangment with some extra stumps.
Found at Cote Brilliant Community Garden and it is this seat that has inspired me to write this blog post. I love Cote and keep it close to my heart for this reason.
The view you will have when you are sitting on this garden throne.
Summer is the time when educators have time to take a deep breath and evaluate what worked and how we can do things differently next year. This summer put outdoor classroom on your radar when doing such an evaluation. Be sure to ask yourself if your outdoor space has the kind of seating that will make you successful in your endeavor.
-Punita Patel, Youth Educator