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Edison Elementary Celebrates Completion of New Children's Garden
On the south side of Edison Elementary School, a curved path runs alongside a flourishing flower and vegetable garden. Envisioned as an outdoor space for children to learn while having the opportunity to experience and appreciate nature, the garden has been shepherded by a dedicated group of Edison Elementary School students, staff and families.
The new Edison Children’s Garden was a year in the making, but the vision for the garden goes back more than three decades.
It was the late Jill Tomsic, a former PTA president and inaugural member of the school planning team, who first came up with the idea. Tomsic, who passed away in 1991, was extremely active in the school community, and she had envisioned an outdoor space like the one that has been created.
The school community broke ground on the revitalized garden project last fall and has been working on it ever since. This special space has been dedicated in Tomsic’s memory. Currently, there are three areas in the garden: a Peace Garden, a Butterfly Garden, and a Vegetable Garden. Future plans include a Discovery Garden, a Rock River, an ABC Garden, and a stage for observing or outdoor performances.
In the spring of 2017, Edison hosted a Family Garden Party where families worked together to plant flowers that were donated by the PTA and created decorations for the garden.
Community involvement has been central to this endeavor. On Tuesday, September 26, Edison had an opportunity to say thank you to all those who worked hard to tend the garden during the summer. A special picnic event was held for all those who helped water, weed and take care of the garden throughout the summer as the plants and flowers came to life. Some members of Tomsic's family were present, including her daughter, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.
Earlier that same day, the Edison Junior Master Gardener Club met for the very first time of the 2017-18 school year. Students were able to harvest some of the vegetables they had planted in the spring, and use them to make grilled pizzas. The club was responsible for sowing and planting all the vegetables in the garden, including carrots, broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes, peas, basil, beets and onions.
This group meets weekly after school to tend to the Edison Children’s Garden and learn about gardening. The club, which was started last year, follows the JMG program out of Texas A&M. The Junior Master Gardener Program "is modeled after the highly successful Master Gardener Program and offers horticultural and environmental science education, and leadership and life skills development through fun and creative activities. This program is committed to helping young people become good gardeners and good citizens so they can make a positive contribution to their community, school and family," according to the JMG Leader Guide. The Junior Master Gardener Club is run by teacher Susan Hirsch and Speech Pathologist Linda Sternin, with the guidance of master gardener and community member Therese Melchiorre.
The gardens will even be integrated into the new science curriculum, headed by science teacher Dean Judy. In this way, the garden has not only added to the beauty of the Edison Elementary campus and given students a place to appreciate nature, but it will also provide students with an invaluable learning experience as well.