Outdoor Education and Gardening

older students digging in the garden and planting flowers

Taking care of one another, ourselves and the earth are at the core of St. Nicholas School’s philosophy. The garden program at St. Nicholas is a beautiful expression of these values. 

Students learn how to grow and care for plants, feed their bodies with whole foods and work together towards a common goal, while absorbing larger lessons on sustainability and stewardship of the Earth. School gardening inspires awe and respect for nature, nourishes bodies and encourages a lifelong love of learning about the natural world. 

The vegetable garden really is the newest classroom – there are no walls, but the science of life and the rhythm of math are everywhere.

The gardening program involves children of all ages at St. Nicholas. Level 2 students seed and care for baby plants in the greenhouse. During the past school year, Level 6 and 7 students calculated the area of the greenhouse to determine the type of ventilation fan needed. Level 5 students transplant seedlings from the greenhouse during their life-cycle study and measure soil temperatures. Level 3 and 4 students care for the herb plants and study the properties of soil.

boy with fresh radish plantsyoung students picking flowers in the garden
Prek and kindergarten students planting in the garden

Students of all levels plant vegetables in the raised beds of the vegetable garden and tend them while they grow. At harvest time, students are able to taste the fruits of their labor – sometimes straight off the plant as with cherry tomatoes. Fresh spinach, lettuce, arugula, radishes and onions are incorporated into salad bar offerings in the St. Nicholas cafeteria. Taste tests are also conducted to expose children to the flavors of the garden, while teaching fresh food preparation. During summer camp, students tasted red, yellow, white, pink, purple and orange carrots to compare the flavors. 

two young boys studying plants in the gardenthree older boys picking new plants in the gardentwo girls and one boy digging and planting seeds in the garden

ST NICHOLAS SCHOOL 7525 Min Tom Drive | Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421 | ph: (423).899.1999 | fax: (423).899.0109 | [email protected]