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Meeting the Young Gardeners from the Montclair Community Pre-K

Montclair Community Pre-K students are bright, articulate and knowledgeable gardeners. Already!

As an active member of the Garden Club of Montclair, I’ve met many well-qualified gardeners over the years, but perhaps none quite as inspiring as the young gardeners from Ms. Shelley Showell’s class at the Montclair Community Pre-K. I saw the class at the Avis Campbell Gardens, which are located behind the United Way Building, 60 S. Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ. The students had walked over from their school on Valley Road to tour the gardens.  Celia Radek, co-chair of the Avis Campbell Garden Committee with Karen Whitehouse, spoke with the enthusiastic gardeners about the classic English garden with its rosy colored brick pathways and bubbling fountain centerpiece. The gardens, maintained by the Garden Club of Montclair, are bursting into bloom and the children were excited to learn about what grows in the garden and happy to draw what they saw. They join many other artists and gardeners who use the Avis Campbell Gardens for inspiration.

The students were gathered around the fountain talking when I walked by. They spoke of bulbs and composting; they admired the tulips in bloom; and they asked Ms. Radek about the fountain, which hadn’t been turned on for the season yet. The children took a stroll over to the tree peony to shake out some pollen and talk about bees and other insects (and allergies, with some of the young gardeners pretty well versed!); they volunteered info about nectar and honey. I was impressed with what the children already knew about gardening. I learned that they have compost pails in their classrooms and that they and their families garden at their school. I met this group of bright and sparkly children during Week of the Young Child, and it was heartwarming to see that the week’s theme for 2012, “Early Years Are Learning Years,” really fits our Montclair Community Pre-K students perfectly!

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Laura Marchese May 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Fantastic! So wonderful to hear our students are taking their knowledge out into the community! Laura AKA Miss Laura, Related Arts Garden/Environmental Science, MCPK
Sarah Blaine May 07, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I think that Laura Marchese, a.k.a Miss Laura, deserves a huge shout-out (and perhaps a special feature of her own) for the work she does teaching gardening year-round at MCPK (as well as raising funds for the gardens, working with students and their families to maintain the gardens, organizing MCPK's annual garden day, etc.). There's a reason our MCPK kids know so much about gardening, and her name is Miss Laura. She is an essential part of the MCPK community, and we are lucky to have her.

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