Members of the Western Cranston Garden Club recently helped the kindergarten students in Amy Merlino's inclusion kindergarten class beautify the grounds at Garden City Elementary School.
"We received a grant from [State Representative] Nick Mattiello, and because I work here and I'd seen these beds every day for 11 years, I knew they needed redoing," said Cheryl Celeste, member of the Garden Club and paraprofessional at the school.
Principal Maryann Casale gave the go-ahead, and the Garden Club got to work planning.
Celeste and her husband, Pat, as well as their neighbor, Paul Provencal, came to Garden City Elementary the weekend before the kindergarteners were scheduled to do their planting and prepped the areas in front of the school. They had help from volunteers Kathleen Damiani, Paula Munko, Elizabeth Reale, Joyce Malloy and Rose Strokes.
"They weeded the beds, moved old shrubbery, split perennials and got everything ready," Celeste said. "We also worked on the garden to the left of the steps facing the school.
Having seen the before and after, Celeste said their goal of beautification was successful, and having the Garden Club work with her students made the project that much more special.
The kindergarten students, who have been studying plants and flowers, and what they need to grow, were each able to dig a hole and plant an annual flower in it, with the assistance of the garden club members who worked alongside them. Afterwards, Merlino ran a writing exercise about the experience.
"They have been reading, observing and studying about what will grow and they know that plants need water, sunlight, food and dirt to grow," she said. "We've been reading all different sorts of literature about seeds and plants. We even read one recently about seeds that travel by wind and on animals.
Text and photos by Jen Cowart.