Bartle students learn by getting their hands dirty with a hands-on project

Students and staff of Bartle Elementary School are doing more than reading about the outdoors. Thanks to the Bartle Learnscape Courtyard Project, they are learning about their environment by touching and feeling the outdoors. Last August, a team of Bartle educators decided to renovate and beautify the ailing, weedy, rubbish-filled courtyard, and transform it into a beautiful learning space for the school community.

The weeds have been replaced with river rocks, the difficult to see path is now a handicapped accessible path. Furnishings and garden decor allow students to enjoy the new space. Students and staff worked together to design the different areas. The learning space now comprises seating, plants native to New Jersey, vegetables, flowers and herbs. The herbs will be harvested and distributed to the local soup kitchen.
“Everyone is excited about this renovated space and teachers have been using it for quiet reading time, instruction and even as a pumpkin patch in the autumn. The colorful rock garden designed by our second graders has been a big hit. During the winter, students went out to paint the snowy courtyard with food coloring,” Ms. Pasichow, Bartle fifth-grade teacher stated. “We’re thankful for the support of the entire Highland Park community, the Bartle P.T.O., Lowes, BRD Landscaping, Home Depot, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), Hipp Family Foundation,, New Jersey for Sustainable Schools, Public Service Gas & Electric, and the Highland Park Educational Foundation for their enthusiastic response to our gardening and instructional needs.”

The official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place Friday, May 20, 10 a.m. in the courtyard. Bartle teachers, students, staff and local politicians will attend and demonstrate their support for this project. A film crew from the award winning NJEA Classroom Close-up will document this event. Students will cut the ribbon that was designed by our entire student population; local musical talent will perform, and attendees will tour the various learning zones of the courtyard.

For further information, please contact: Rachel Pasichow


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