Jun 11th, 2015

1st Graders Volunteer in Children’s Garden

Girls volunteering in the Children's Garden.

Richmond Waldorf School 1st graders volunteering in the Children’s Garden.

Recently the Richmond Waldorf  School reached out to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden — our Children’s Garden in particular, as they sought to fulfill one of their 10 values: “That schools should awaken social responsibility, service to community and stewardship of the earth.”

One of the parents from the 1st grade class, Katie Adams Parrish, explains, “One of the reasons that my husband James and I chose Richmond Waldorf School for our children is that Waldorf education meets children where they are developmentally and teaches to the whole child — head, heart and hands. I thought a group volunteer project would be a really great way to help them meet their values and help us serve our mission as well.”

Since the Garden’s mission is education, and we love to partner with like-minded organizations, this seemed like a natural fit.  For first-graders, I keep the tasks simple (for safety). We included volunteer activities such as hand weeding. In fact, these first-graders helped us weed a  large area along the fence and pathway in the Children’s Garden. Our typical garden tools are fairly large for a smaller volunteer; you can see from the weed bucket the scale of our workers to their tools.

A boy taking a break from weeding the Children's Garden.

A boy taking a break from weeding the Children’s Garden.

While we worked in the Garden, I made sure to take the time to explain best practices and proper techniques, which also meets typical first grade-level Standards of Learning (SOLs). I explained the importance of pulling up the roots along with the entire plant so that the weed does not re-sprout. As we pulled up weeds we were able to see the roots in-hand. This partnership shares a common interest: hands-on learning. I was happy to see these children learning these important lessons at such a young age, happy with dirty gardener hands. Thank you Richmond Waldorf School.


Nicki Apostolow is the Youth Programs Developer at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden where she runs youth volunteer programs, including Service Learning, Summer Programs, Vocational Programs & Internships.

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