École Harfang-Des-Neiges in collaboration with Éco-quartier Pierrefonds-Roxboro and À Ma-Baie youth centre inaugurated the school's vegetable garden Thursday noon. The school is the first in the West Island to have a vegetable garden equipped with rainwater barrels connected directly to the building's gutters to allow the watering of the vegetables during the summer.
The borough has a policy that forbids the use of hose water during the summer months because of drought. The vegetables that were planted in the spring include radishes, peas, cucumbers, carrots, beets, sunflower, beans, squash, grapes, blueberries, herbs and peppers. The school included around 100 of its students in the project that involved planting and harvesting the vegetables that were watered during the summer by the Éco-quartier and À Ma-Baie staff while the students and professors were on vacation.
Grade 2 teacher Yen Chang was the school responsible for the project. When she started the project, she had a classe d'accueil, a special class for children whose level of French isn't on par with what is required by the Ministry. She thinks that the project has been a positive way to stimulate children with active learning.
"I knew the children needed various projects to be stimulated with much more concrete situations than the regular curriculum. This is the science project we did to reach out to the kids and make sure they were stimulated in their learning process," she said.
For her part, Éco-quartier coordinator Ouahiba Nahi thinks this project has enabled the kids to get sensitized to ecology at a young age, something that is paramount according to her.
"It is an under-privileged school which means that lots of students are children of immigrants who are not necessarily sensitized to environmental concerns. Children thus represent a link with their parents to our way of caring for the environment they might not be familiar with. Children learn about ecology at school and explain this stuff to their parents when they get home," she said.
Two other schools in the borough have heard about the project and are interested in setting up rainwater barrels and vegetable gardens according to Nahi. The two schools are École Murielle-Dumont and Saint-Gérard, both located in Pierrefonds.