- Waverly Park Elementary School
2023- 2024 Waverly Park Elementary School Project: Growing with Pre-Kindergarten
Waverly Park Elementary School: Growing with Pre-Kindergarten
Creating an outdoor seating/learning area, Texas native/pollinator plant area, and raised bed vegetable garden for the youngest students, staff, and community at Waverly Park Elementary School.
We are requesting a Tarrant Regional Water District Conservation Treasures water conservation grant to create a new raised bed garden area and outdoor seating/learning area for Waverly Park Elementary’s 100 Pre-Kindergarten students. The Conservation Treasures garden will be planted next to an existing garden area used by Waverly Park’s older students. Waverly Park recently adopted a new Pre-K curriculum that is very creative and lends itself well to being taught outside. The native plantings and raised garden beds will be used to deliver the curriculum in a much more hands-on and experiential way.
Two of the curriculum units are Water and Gardening. The Water Unit lasts four weeks: September 28 through October 27. During this unit, students discover the importance of water and its many uses at school and at home, investigate how water changes, and learn about how water helps people and the environment. The study of water also offers a meaningful way
for children to use literacy, mathematics, the arts, and technology to investigate and represent their understanding of important concepts related to physical development, science, and social studies. By the end of the unit, students will be able to describe water’s physical properties and uses and will understand how water helps people and the environment and ways to conserve water.
The Gardening Unit lasts six weeks: March 24 through May 8. In this unit, students will explore a variety of questions and concepts through experiences that support all areas of development and learning. Gardening provides an abundance of sensory experiences for students in a medium they enjoy. Planning, planting and tending to a growing garden requires a wide variety of skills from all domains of development and learning. Students will work collaboratively to care for the garden, discuss garden plans, create plant markers, and compare how plants grow and change over time. Students will learn about how a seed or seedling grows into familiar food, how to develop healthy habits, and how gardens build a sense of community. By the end of the unit, students will understand how plants grow and change, what healthy eating habits look like, and how gardens help people care for each other.
We will have plenty of opportunities to incorporate water conservation and sustainable resource use strategies in our lessons in the garden: using native versus non-native plants, starting a compost area, nurturing wormeries in our classrooms, saving seeds, using garden signage, and growing native, seasonally appropriate vegetable varieties. We will meet with the District’s Operations Department to discuss adding a water catchment system, such as a rain barrel.
The primary users of the new raised bed garden area will be our Pre-K students. Pre-K enrollment at Waverly Park has remained steady at around 100 students since the 2019-20 academic year. All five Pre-K classes will use the new garden, and all six Pre-K staff members will be involved. Families of Pre-K students will be invited to attend garden events and to work in the garden with their children during the school year. The pollinator garden and Texas native planting area will be used by the entire school. Signage in this area will be very helpful to assist with linking curriculum. With 700 students enrolled schoolwide, Waverly Park is among the top three elementary schools in FWISD in terms of enrollment. Upper grades will use the new garden area as a living, practical example to supplement classroom learning in living science, social studies, art, and other subjects. This garden has the potential to inspire high numbers of students and families to appreciate plants and the outdoor environment, learn about water conservation, and develop a love for nature—beginning with Waverly Park’s youngest students.
What type of Assistance:
Financial Support – yes
Educational Signage - yes
Design assistance or technical guidance – yes
Training – yes (for teachers, afterschool care providers etc.)
Lesson plans and resources – yes
Which of the conservation features …:
Ornamental/pollinator garden/landscape featuring drought-tolerant Texas native plants – yes
Pocket prairie – yes
Woodland grove or tree trail – no
Rain barrel or cistern – no
Water-themed educational mural – no
Describe each feature:
Detailed breakdown of items and features is added to this application.
Vegetable garden: Raised beds from vego.com will be used for the vegetable garden. The beds are 17” in height to allow for deeper plantings of items such as potatoes.
Pollinator/Texas Native bed: Waverly Park already has Texas native plants in the area around the school. We would like to create a new pollinator bed under the windows of the school building next to the garden. We have been in contact with a local Texas native plant nursery (Eco Blossom) - see list attached.
Seating area: We will create flip tables and benches from the 2X4 basic modular kits - see list.
Shaded seating area: We will use a covered pavilion that is already in the area, particularly on wet days.
Planting: Students will be involved in the planting.
The project will be installed as a school and school community project. Staff, parents, and community members will build the raised beds and seating for the garden. Inspired by the new Pre-K curriculum, the Pre-K teaching staff has already formed a garden committee, and all of the Pre-K teachers are active members. The garden committee will coordinate all classroom use, seasonal garden workdays, and a rotation schedule for garden care outside of school sessions.
Our new school garden will be supported by the Blue Zones Project’s School Garden Educator, Mary Jo Greene. We will receive support from North Texas School Garden Network and from our local Tarrant Area Food Bank Learning Garden. These organizations will help us with supplemental curriculum, supplemental teacher training, plant and seed donations, garden workday assistance, and as a resource for any questions we have.
Fort Worth ISD
Describe Current Site:
The proposed site for the new Waverly Park Elementary School: Growing with Pre-Kindergarten project is next to an existing garden area. The proposed site is clear, flat, and in full sun. The area is grassy and located at the back of the school near a working water source. FWISD will remove a mound of sand from footprint and relocate a gaga pit. We will request that the District carry out mechanical scraping of the grassy areas where the raised beds will be placed.
Public Safely and easily access:
The area has a good working path along the edge of the proposed project area. The area is flat and will pose no issue to users with limited mobility.
Budget – attached
We are ready to start the project as soon as possible.
Promoting the garden area will done via our school’s social media accounts and school newsletter. FWISD’s Communications Department will also highlight our garden and work in the garden via social media platforms and internal publications. Our garden work will be highlighted by our gardening partner organizations. We plan to have in-person events in the garden with our school families and community members. We will list our garden to the DFW map of school gardens, highlighting our water conservation features.
We have formed a school garden committee that meets at least once per month. The committee will develop a plan for garden use, watering, and harvesting, and a schedule of care for out-of-school hours. We anticipate holding two garden workdays during the school year, and we will request and welcome parent, family, and community participation. We will hold fundraisers and will work with FWISD’s Grants and Development Department to apply for gardening grants throughout the school year. We will continue to create and develop relationships with supporting gardening organizations to secure support, funding, donations, and in-kind support. Engineered wood fiber used in the garden space will be maintained by FWISD in tandem with playground surfacing maintenance.