CAS Grows Garden is a ‘living classroom’

STAMFORD—With a bit of faith and a bit of dirt, The Catholic Academy of Stamford launched its CAS Grows Garden this fall, the newest of the outdoor resources available to students at the school. The garden was lovingly built over the spring and summer with the hard work and generosity of school parents, and boasts seven raised garden beds, one in-ground bed, numerous containers and a sturdy fence to cradle the space, with improvements and additions to be added over time.

Students are already enjoying this season’s activities, which range from planting seeds and managing vegetable beds, to overseeing beneficial flowers and watering, and they learn about their environment through games, books and exploration. The CAS teachers have been helpful and enthusiastic partners in sharing this addition with their classes. The garden is also a resource for visual learning for topics already in the curriculum, and everyone benefits from the extra dose of fresh air during the school day.

Fruit, vegetable and herb gardening is a hands-on exercise in patience and perseverance that can bring great joy and wonder. It can also foster an appreciation for the origin of food, as well as an insight into the relationships of all things in the natural world. Gardening-based programs implemented in schools have been shown to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and there is also evidence that the benefits can extend to stress reduction and teamwork building. This new initiative will certainly be a valued learning experience for all.

By sharing God’s gift of nature in this way, The Catholic Academy of Stamford helps to build a foundational understanding of the continued importance of natural stewardship in our lives and health. CAS students are encouraged to practice gratitude, respect, curiosity and care in their living classroom. The whole school is hoping to share a plentiful harvest this season, and is looking forward to seeing how it grows!

By Danielle Jahn, CAS parent of a 4th-grade student