Andrew Cooke Magnet School, the 2011 winner of Gardener's Supply Company $5,000 grant, incorporates a repurposed greenhouse into science curriculum and community events.
Only a few years ago, the Andrew Cooke greenhouse in Waukegan, Illinois was an empty space in the courtyard of a brick school building. With a little motivation and administrative support, the unused area was repurposed to become a learning lab for first through fifth grade students.
Today, the Growing Green program at Andrew Cooke is a garden/greenhouse science curriculum program. By creating a living landscape, lessons are supplemented by hands-on experiments and activities. These skills and plants beautify the community, increase wildlife, improve nutrition, save money on food, promote smarter grocery decisions, and the practice of sustainable horticulture.
The program increases responsibility as the children progress in their education. For example, the first grade students may be responsible for planting the chosen seeds while the fifth grade classes run the community plant sale.