St. Peter’s Health Partners Community Health Programs has helped create a new, outdoor learning center at the Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST) in Albany, part of the Albany City School District.
Instead of desks and chairs, soil and plants serve as the foundation of this new educational space, created as part of the ongoing makeover of the school’s garden.
Featuring more than a dozen raised beds, the space will allow students to care for various vegetables, fruits and flowers, all of which they will get to enjoy. The school plans to use the fresh produce harvested from the garden in school lunches and in the summer feeding program. Students in the Garden Club will also be allowed to take some of the produce home to their families.
In addition to serving as a learning space, the area is designed to encourage physical activity. The school’s walls feature paintings of six different yoga poses. Their purpose–to encourage mindfulness and guide students through exercises that can help them decompress, and refocus their minds and bodies.
The garden was made possible through the Creating Healthy Schools and Community grant, which allowed Community Health Programs to provide soil, wood, and other materials. Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Honest Weight Food Co-op also donated seeds and plants for the project, which will now serve as a year-round garden classroom.
Click HERE to watch a video from the event.