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The gardening program at WSA offers children a chance to learn the practical skills of caring for themselves and the earth while bringing to life the academic work of the classroom. In the early grades, the gardening curriculum emphasizes reverence for nature, care for the environment, and respect for each other. Early gardening activities foster the students' powers of observation that become vital in later gardening years. Stories and song are used to introduce gardening themes and jobs such as the life cycle of plants, facts of the natural world, and seasonal changes. The skills taught in gardening such as tool care and cleaning, harvesting, saving seed, and extensive weeding and bed preparation strengthen the will, support physical growth, and teach responsibility.

In third grade gardening comes into full focus. The themes in third grade gardening include, turning feelings of separation and change into responsibility for self and world, grounding the feeling world in concrete reality, and learning to trust the interconnections of all life forms. In third grade, all practical gardening activities are taught and regularly done. This includes weeding, watering, harvesting, planting, bed preparation, biodynamic preparations, collecting compost, chicken care, and mulching. The children continue these tasks in later gardening years.

After the foundation of the early years, the gardening curriculum continues to expand the children's practical skills while shifting to a focus on social responsibility and relationship of self to the world around. In the middle school, this takes the form of lessons on Permaculture and Food Justice. As the children grow, the gardening curriculum meets their physical needs with more strenuous work. The students' growing sense of independence allows for more individual projects and responsibilities. The overall hope of the gardening program at WSA is that each child takes away a sense of being needed by the world around them and practical skills they can use to fill those voids.

Our Gardening teacher is Rebecca Johnson.

Rebecca Johnson

A native to Atlanta, Rebecca Johnson has loved the outdoors all of her life. She grew up experiencing nature in her Grandmother's garden and on numerous camping trips. She traveled to New York for college and graduated cum laude from Fordham University in 2008 where she studied Art History. After leaving graduate school, Rebecca embarked on several farming apprenticeships. She has work on a pasture raised live stock farm, a small dairy farm, and multiple vegetable farms. While working on a Biodynamic farm in 2010, Rebecca began to study the agricultural theories of Rudolf Steiner and has since continued to practice Biodynamics, most recently as the Assistant Manager at the East Lake Urban Farm. Rebecca came to the WSA community in 2012 as a teaching assistant and is thrilled to combine her love of teaching children and gardening while applying the Biodynamic principles at WSA.