Students’ Garden Blossoms in Sylmar
Kids and dirt have always been closely associated, but at Sylmar Elementary School, the dirt is part of the garden, and the garden is part of an educational program provided by Builders Emporium in San Fernando. The store and the school team up through the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Adopt-a-School Program, which is designed to bring together community businesses and schools.
A neglected, weedy area of the school that could not be cemented over because of a lack of funds has been turned into an outdoor science center.
For the past 2 years, using wood scraps, fertilizer, manure, broken or discarded seed bags and flats of flowers and vegetables donated by Builders Emporium, the students have turned the area into a working vegetable and flower garden, Principal Yvonne Chan said.
Fourth- and fifth-graders focus on one side of the garden, and preschool and kindergarten students work the other. Older children help the younger ones with the more strenuous tasks, which involve both fall and winter planting seasons.
The program’s popularity inspired further plantings in large whiskey half-barrels placed between classrooms throughout the school and tended by the students.
Builders Emporium also supports the school by providing guest speakers at student and faculty conferences, brochures that the students use as reading material, and a student field trip to the store. In addition, the store brings Santa Claus to the school and offers awards for attendance and citizenship.