While teachers and learning therapists at The Lewis School of Princeton have always brought nature into the classroom, our new outdoor garden was the result of generous grant in June from the Whole Kids Foundation. Whole Foods Market Princeton also donated books and planning help and will help celebrate the garden and the school’s 40th Anniversary Year with a fall Harvest Day planned in October. During Lewis’s Summer Study session, middle schoolers studied seed germination and growing periods as they prepared chard, beans and radishes from High Mowing Seeds for planting in the new garden.

To secure the Garden Grant from Whole Kids Foundation, The Lewis School created a team of teachers, parents, Girl Scouts, students and staff to maintain a garden program long after the initial planting. Health and Wellness Educator Karina LaMalfa linked the garden project to classes she teaches in Nutrition classes at the school. "Last year, we encouraged our students to open their minds and plates to delicious, whole, plant-based nutrition classes and kitchen labs. Using a home-grown, multisensory, evidence-based curriculum, our students were able to make the link between whole foods and their state of health, learning and memory both now and in their futures." Each class offered a nutrition principle, a cooking exercise and social learning opportunities as students rotated roles of chefs, servers and readers each week. In addition to cooperation and team work, students gained confidence, learned to read labels, described the steps of food processing, and improved their cooking skills.

Master Learning Therapists Tara McCullough and Sarah Stevens will be instrumental in connecting the garden to the greater curriculum. This fall, benches will arrive as well as teaching tables cut from a favorite, yet no longer, viable elm tree. In the Lower School, science and math classes will integrate garden lessons. Art, poetry, music and literature in the garden will give all school levels fresh inspiration and a natural connection to their community and local environment. Numerous events are planned to celebrate The Lewis School’s upcoming 40th Anniversary Year. "After four decades of advocating for bright children who excel in a multisensory environment, it is fitting to honor our relationships with our community, our supporters, our families and the natural environment, Founder and Director Marsha Gaynor Lewis reflects, all of these entities inspire and energize us to continue to nourish the unique gifts and promise of ourselves and our community."

The Lewis School, 53, Bayard Lane, Princeton. 609-924-8120. lewisschol.org.

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