Learning Gardens

Learning Gardens

A garden, where one may enter in and forget the whole world, cannot be made in a week, nor a month, nor a year; it must be planned for, waited for and loved into being.
- Chinese Proverb
The Learning Garden is a model example of how school gardens can transform the lives of students and teachers and the environment of their community. Set in the backdrop of St. Rita School for the Deaf, the agricultural plots are filled with seasonal flowers overseen by teacher Richard Miller and his students.  The gardens contain an annual tiered flower bed, a perennial garden, herbs, a succulent garden, and native wild flowers.  There is a formal garden pond complete with goldfish and water lilies.  
The larger informal pond is a work in progress, and has had a recent overhaul by a local Boy Scout group. The newly renovated outdoor train display is a real treat for the train lovers whether they be children or adults. Pet rabbits live in the garden area and serve as "compost helpers" as their droppings are collected and added to compost collected from the cafeteria to speed up the break down process and enrich the soil of the flower beds. Recycling and composting is encouraged, and the senior class of 2012 installed the first garden sculpture in front of the Loft Building using recycled plastic caps collected by parents, students, and staff. 
No garden would be complete without a greenhouse, and St Rita has a spacious greenhouse, which serves as a classroom for students as they learn about plant care and propagation as well as bird watching and many other classroom lessons and activities.
Plans are under way as we continue to maintain and transform the learning garden area. Students will help in the development of a future Nature Center, an outdoor Garden Wooded Path, outdoor classroom areas, development of new beds for flowers and vegetables that can be grown for use here at the school, so students can reap the total experience of plant life from seed to their lunch plate. Thanks to the Learning Garden program at St Rita, students receive "hands on" learning in a fun and very interactive way, with lessons in Math, Science, Art, Social Studies and History, as well as Reading and Writing.
The Learning Garden is much more than a garden. For the students of St. Rita School for the Deaf it is an opportunity to be closer to nature, a place to learn about respecting the environment and taking care of plants and animals. For the teachers it is a place of solace. For the community it is a place of visual beauty.  The Learning Garden is a remarkable and unique place that touches something deep in the heart and soul.
For more information about the Learning Gardens please contact 513.771.7600.
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