Students learn in the Garden of Growth at Stenstrom Elementary

Garden provides space for reflection

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Sometimes a little fresh air is all it takes to get your day back on track.

At Stenstrom Elementary, students have the opportunity to spend time in the Garden of Growth. 

"So we wanted to create a little spot where everyone could gather. They could learn outside the classroom walls and get a feel for what is growing around the school, so they could learn here locally," said kindergarten teacher Lynda Roche.

Roche was on the team that helped create the garden. Among the plants, flowers and food growing is the Path of Kindness. Each student placed a pebble along the path and eventually, every student will paint a rock with a message of love.

"So every student who walks on the path can feel that love from the pebble someone put there," first grader Abbigail Frail said.

Frail and her classmates enjoy checking the milkweed plants for caterpillars and butterflies.

"They love milkweed and if you get milkweed, (butterflies) will attract to it and they will come to lay eggs on it," student Deklynn Hodges said.

The garden also features benches. Roche said it's not uncommon to see teachers and students having one-on-one conversations in the garden when a student might be having a difficult day.

"Everyone can enjoy a moment in the sunshine when they're out in nature and they can make connections with the things they're seeing," she said.

The Garden of Growth started with grants from both Lowe's and Home Depot and is supported by the school's parent-teacher association.

Roche said parent volunteers and local Girl Scout troops help weed the garden. If you'd like to donate plants or volunteer, contact Stenstrom Elementary here.

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