When Akili’s Pre-K scholars walked in to school on their first day, they didn’t expect to have their own garden. Akili has long wanted to dedicate a space outside of the school where scholars could engage in experiential learning through gardening.
Through a very generous group of volunteers from Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL, the garden was completed over a few days in July. In collaboration with Partnerships in Education & Service (PIES), an Illinois-based charity, volunteers built raised garden beds, trellises, and child-sized benches. They also prepared the soil for seeds and seedlings. Donations were made to the project by a number of individuals, and one of the most important donations came from Jonathan Stroud of Wood Materials. Jonathan and his team donated all of the topsoil for the garden.
“Our scholars want to be part of making a difference in their community, not only our older scholars, but also the youngest. For them, having something to manage, like a garden, was the perfect opportunity to to teach them about one of the most important Akili values: teamwork,” said Akili Principal Allison Lowe.