Project Sandy Pines is an innovative project which will allow students in a residential psychiatric facility to experience the latest
technology in their classroom and have hands on learning experience outside. Students will be responsible for the planning,
planting, and upkeep of the gardens. By creating sustainable gardens (vegetable and native species), students will learn the art of
gardening, the therapeutic benefits, responsibility, increased self esteem, collegiality, while infusing math, science, and technology.
Students will work in a non-threatening outdoor environment where they will cultivate food, grow flowers, and create an
aesthetically pleasing quality for the school. In addition, students will be able to learn from a Promethean Board that allows for
movement in the classroom, interactive learning, and the opportunity to utilize technology, which would bring our elementary and
middle school classrooms to the next level.
How is this project innovative?
Project Sandy Pines is designed to help psychiatric patients at a children's residential facility. Never before has
this public school housed inside a private hospital been given the opportunity to expand the classroom walls to
the outdoors. Since our school works in collaboration with a treatment team, the approach we take is
therapeutic in nature. By giving the children the opportunity to garden outside and learn about science, the
growth cycle, native species, growing vegetables, sustainability, as well as integrating learning into technology,
we will be taking the children's education and metal well being to a new level.
Research shows that there are many benefits to school gardening. School gardens may offer benefits to students
that go beyond the classroom. School gardens provide the opportunity for students, teachers, and members of
the therapeutic team to interact. This interaction may allow for an improvement of interpersonal social skills and
can teach students how to work cooperatively with each other and the adults who are attempting to help them.
Without proper care and maintenance, gardens can die or become overgrown. Giving students the responsibility
to water and care for the plants they grow may instill in them a sense of accountability. Patience is another
virtue that students may learn through garden participation, as plants do not grow, flower, or fruit overnight. As
the garden grows and becomes fruitful and beautiful, students can take pride in the efforts they put forth. This
pride can help bolster self-esteem and allow students to take pride in the beautification of their school. This is
especially true for the population we serve. A school garden allows students to work in a non-threatening
outdoor environment where they can interact and learn about nature. Studies are finding that students who are
allowed to learn in an outdoor environment such as a garden have improved environmental attitudes.
How will it fit into your curriculum?
School gardens are a wonderful and exciting way to make school subjects more interesting and meaningful to
students. School gardens create an environment that allows for creative thought, active learning, and
interpersonal skills. The garden is a living entity that can serve as an excellent resource to teach subjects while
allowing students to learn in an environment that is atypical to the sterile classrooms to which most students are
School gardens can be used to teach practically every subject covered in an elementary school classroom. The
garden is a perfect place for students to learn about plants, insects, weather, and many other science-relatedlessons. Math lessons, such as measuring, addition and subtraction have ideal applications in the garden.
Gardens can also be used to teach social studies, as students can learn about other cultures and how they grow
their food and what they eat, as well as where their own food comes from.
Some of the standards that will be taught include:
Determine the central ideas
Follow multistep procedures
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain specific words and phrases as
they are used in a scientific context
Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text
Compare and contrast information
Use technology to produce and publish writing
Research to build and present knowledge
Know relative sizes of measurement
Use the four operations with accuracy
Make a line plot
How will it encourage long-lasting change in your classroom, school, or community?
The ultimate goal of any project is to instill a desire to learn and grow. In addition, it is a goal for this project to
expand from the elementary/ middle school classrooms to the high school classrooms within the school.
Ultimately, Project Sandy Pines would be something that the community would be involved with as well. I
envision master gardener volunteers to continue to expand the garden and teach gardening at a higher level. The
sustainability factor is also something that would lead to expansion. Teaching students to utilize native species,
how to rotate crops, teaching about composting, and collecting rainwater would be further goals to develop after
the initial year's implementation. Project Sandy Pines will be a therapeutic tool for teachers and therapists alike. It
will provide a safe outdoor space that has been created by the students for the students.
How will technology be used?
A Promethean Board will be purchased to bring classroom technology to the 21st century. The Promethean Board
allows teachers to incorporate internet teaching, interactive games, and math formulas and symbols. In addition,
students can utilize the tools to increase their involvement in the lesson. Teachers can show video clips of
gardening techniques as well as demonstrate the growing process, plant zones, weather patterns, etc. This
Promethean Board technology is not only helpful for the science and gardening components, all learning
throughout the day will be enhanced with this interactive learning tool.
What evidence will you collect to show student gain?
Pre and post test data will be collected to show growth in the following areas:
1) Knowledge of technology
2) Knowledge of the growth cycle