Citrus trees, herbs, vegetables and flowers in Top of the World Elementary’s outdoor classroom create a popular hands-on learning experience. In addition to horticulture lessons, students also have the opportunity to learn about nutrition.
“Garden discussions include comparing and contrasting textures, taste and appearance of food that is available during the current season,” said Terry Hustwick, who retired in 2003 after 36 years teaching at TOW to continue as outdoor classroom coordinator.
She said students harvest lettuce and other vegetables they have grown and prepare their own salads. “By dining alfresco, we are able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the garden environment and enjoy the pride of growing your own food,” she said.
Sarah Wolsey’s fifth grade class this year added straw bales, used as a base to grow seedlings. Over time the bale becomes compost, which enriches the soil.
The outdoor classroom is supported by TOW’s PTA, volunteers, the Laguna Beach County Water District and the Laguna Beach Garden Club.