Outside Inclusion Garden

Gayton Elementary

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“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower”
-Alexander Den Heijer

With grant funding from HEF, Gayton expanded and improved their garden and outdoor environment to give students a sense of purpose and inclusion during recess, a connection with nature, and a place to reconnect and establish new bonds as one school community.

They've installed a disc golf course and two playground sheds full of collaborative toys including the ever popular pickleball. Art teacher, Tori Swartz, painted murals in the hallway that leads to the Outside Inclusion Garden. Seeds have been planted in the garden area and a rain barrel donated by Henricopolis will be installed soon. Next on the list is to bring in birdfeeders, monarch butterfly tracking kits, and create a mobile STEM lab garden.

Students are more involved during recess and are creating new friendships and reestablishing prior ones as they engage in the many fun activities in the garden and play area.

At a recent Earth Day celebration, the playground was full of kids and parents playing disc golf, launching rockets, and learning about pollination and sustainability. RVA goats was by far the most popular education station, and a talented Gayton parent painted the commemorative stone plaque and stone for the garden.

Funding Amount: $5,948

Number impacted: 1,621

Grant recipient: Becky Lucas, Teacher

“Thanks HEF for bringing the fastest growing sport in America, pickleball, to our playground!” Andrew, student

 "No one is alone on the playground any longer. Everyone has someone to play with and something to do. " Becky Lucas