Of the 80 learning gardens being added to CPS schools this summer, more than half will likely be installed in welcoming schools, giving students hands-on nutrition and science opportunities that may not have been available in their previous academic environments.
“Welcoming schools will have the things that parents, teachers and CPS agree students need to ensure that every child in every neighborhood in Chicago has access to a high quality education that prepares them to succeed in life,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “”Installing these Learning Gardens as an additional resource at up to 50 welcoming schools will give many students the hands-on education experience they might not otherwise have
A part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s commitment to invest excess funds from the 2012 NATO summit into community projects across the city, the learning gardens will act as both an extension of the classroom and an enhancement of playgrounds and other outdoor environments. Other investments to welcoming schools will include air conditioning in every classroom, a library in every school, Safe Passage for every school to provide increased security for students on their way to and from school, iPads for all students in grades 3-8, and other facility and technology upgrades.
“For too long, too many of our children have been trapped in underutilized, under resourced schools,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These Learning Gardens will provide our students in ’welcoming schools‘ with hands-on education opportunities in science and nutrition and will add to the investments that Barbara and her team are making to ensure that all of our city’s students, no matter where they live, have access to the resources they need to thrive.”
The Learning Gardens are the project of The Kitchen Community (TKC), a Denver-based nonprofit that seeks to connect children with real food by creating outdoor, garden-based classrooms. Since their implementation last spring, students have increased their likeability of vegetables by 50 percent, and the number of home gardens among CPS families has doubled.
For more information on the investments being made in welcoming schools, visit www.cps.edu/qualityschools.