Jazmine Bush, Baylee Steen, Jennica Mueller, Madison Watts, Mason Merrell, Jaiden Estenson.
The rain would not stop this parade. At the Early Learning Center preschool children sang and marched with colorful ribbon batons to celebrate the new addition to their campus, a greenhouse to assist with their expanding vegetable gardens.
The greenhouse arrived via a grant from the Washington Potato Growers Commission and was accompanied by a check for $1,000. Matt Wyant, coordinator for Lake Stevens School District’s Early Learning Center said the funds will go a long way in supporting gardening projects for the children and families.
Every other Saturday master gardeners from Snohomish County WSU Extension program come to the campus to help with gardening projects, planting tips, and to share a meal made with ingredients from their garden.
“We want our children to know where their food comes from and at the same time benefit the children and families of our school,” Wyant shared.
A preschooler looks into a bucket of potatoes.
Black plastic garbage cans are found spread around the gardens filled with dirt and seed potatoes, and their lids are turned upside down and planted with lettuce. Raised beds, constructed on a gray Saturday in January, are now exploding with sugar snap peas, carrots, beets, radishes and onions.
The small gardening project that began with the help of WSU Extension has taken on a life of its own according to Wyant. Donations for plants and gardening supplies have come in from local nurseries, the greenhouse grant was written by preschool teacher Kathi Gortner, and partnership with WSU has energized families to partake in Saturday gardening with their children.
Sharli Patterson plays with ribbons that were used in the parade to celebrate the preschool’s new greenhouse.
Wyant summed up the impact of the gardening project saying, “Not only has this project been great for our kids and families, but it has been energizing and exciting for our staff—it’s just been a very positive influence for our entire school.”
Now that spring has hit the Early Learning Center it’s difficult to tell who’s growing faster, the preschoolers or the myriad of happy plants.