The gardening program at WSA offers children a chance to learn the practical skills of caring for themselves and the earth while bringing to life the academic work of the classroom. In the early grades, the gardening curriculum emphasizes reverence for nature, care for the environment, and respect for each other. Early gardening activities foster the students' powers of observation that become vital in later gardening years. Stories and song are used to introduce gardening themes and jobs such as the life cycle of plants, facts of the natural world, and seasonal changes. The skills taught in gardening such as tool care and cleaning, harvesting, saving seed, and extensive weeding and bed preparation strengthen the will, support physical growth, and teach responsibility.
In third grade gardening comes into full focus. The themes in third grade gardening include, turning feelings of separation and change into responsibility for self and world, grounding the feeling world in concrete reality, and learning to trust the interconnections of all life forms. In third grade, all practical gardening activities are taught and regularly done. This includes weeding, watering, harvesting, planting, bed preparation, biodynamic preparations, collecting compost, chicken care, and mulching. The children continue these tasks in later gardening years.
After the foundation of the early years, the gardening curriculum continues to expand the children's practical skills while shifting to a focus on social responsibility and relationship of self to the world around. In the middle school, this takes the form of lessons on Permaculture and Food Justice. As the children grow, the gardening curriculum meets their physical needs with more strenuous work. The students' growing sense of independence allows for more individual projects and responsibilities. The overall hope of the gardening program at WSA is that each child takes away a sense of being needed by the world around them and practical skills they can use to fill those voids.
Our Gardening Teacher is Miyuki Maruping.
Miyuki Maruping, a Japanese native, was born in Tokyo and raised in Yokohama. Her love for nature and culture was developed through her visits to her grandmother's in Tohoku region in her childhood. Miyuki received her bachelor's degree in Policy Management from Keio Univesity in Japan. During her senior year, she studied at Bryn Mawr College, PA as an exchange student. Recently, she received certificates in Permacuture Design and Foundations of Herbal Studies. She discovered Waldorf education in Louisville, KY, where her children were previously enrolled at Waldorf School of Louisville. She started the Japanese program there and taught Japanese language and culture for two years. Miyuki strives to expose students to a wide range of activities in nature from growing, cooking, livestock care, and building. It is her joy to see them grow into nature lovers through gardening program. Miyuki and her husband Likoebe are proud parents of Sakura and Khiba who attend the Waldorf School of Atlanta.
Our Gardening Assistant is Jessie Fair.
Jessie Fair is from the suburbs of Atlanta and an Art Alumni from Georgia State University. She is an enthusiastic gardener and naturalist with a passion for native plants and wildlife, wild food and medicine and natural building. From coordinating a small community garden and working on a farm, to building cob houses and volunteering at eco-villages, her love for community and healthy food has grown. She is honored to be welcomed to the Waldorf community and share her enthusiasm with the garden students. Jessie lives in South West Atlanta with her Partner, William, and one year old daughter, Adaline.