In the Spotlight: Laura McDermott

Last week we had an abundance of posts highlighting all the students at CRA digging, planting, and sowing in the garden patch. It was wonderful to see the variety of plants being grown, and we owe Laura McDermott a huge thank-you for making that happen. Laura and her family generously donated all the plants and seeds to CRA, and we cannot thank them enough for showing such kindness and support. Laura is a Health Coach so understands the importance of enriching not only the mind but the person as a whole, and that healthy choices happen when we allow children to connect with how their food is grown. By donating such a variety of edible plants, students will get to experience that connection. Laura not only provided all the plants and seeds but has also been an active volunteer in the garden, helping with the clean up day, and gardening with the 5th graders last week.  While gardening with the students she noted that the “fresh air was calming for all involved”. What a beautiful observation of how the garden impacts our students emotionally. So a big heartfelt thank-you to Laura, not only for your family’s kind donation but also for being an active member of the gardening team, and helping make the vision of CRA’s little patch a reality.


Laura McDermott helping clean up the patch!



Middle School

Middle School students are also getting to enjoy the garden. 6th-grade students are taking social studies out to the garden where they will continue learning about Ancient civilization.  They are going to make the connection between foods grown during the Roman Empire, and what they can grow in California today. They have so far planted peas, onions, and leeks. 7th-grade students will be dividing and conquering with Miss Kadziauskas class using the garden in their restaurant project whereas Miss Mandell’s students are using succulents to study earth and human activity. 8th-graders are staying open to allow the garden to morph with their studies, but they got busy planting marigolds with radishes, as well as carrots and sage.

Mrs. Bachrach’s 6th Grade class getting ready to plant.
6th Grade bed looking good.
Mrs. Ferguson’s 8th-graders.
8th-graders looking excited to be outdoors.
8th-graders planting marigolds and radishes.
Marigolds looking pretty.

4th & 5th Grades

The learning outdoors in the patch continues with the 4th and 5th-grade students. It truly is amazing how much the students accomplished in one week in CRA’s little patch, and it was no exception when it came to the upper-level elementary students. 4th-grade students planted lettuce which they will use to observe how plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival. They will be able to watch first-hand growth behavior. Wow, how neat is that?

5th graders were very busy bees in the garden sowing and planting native poppy seeds, nasturtium seeds, lettuce seeds, sunflower seeds, three small tomato plants, three purple leaf basil, two narrow leaf milkweed, two cupea ignea (plant with slender red flowers), and a partridge in a pear tree – OK no partridge or pear tree!  As can be expected with the large assortment of plants they have grown, they will also be working on an assortment of learning objectives. They will be learning about ecosystems and be expanding math concepts (area, volume, graphing). They are also hoping the milkweed will attract butterflies in the Spring so they can observe them for further study.

Miss Alvarez’s 4th Grade class ready to plant!
4th Graders planting lettuce.
4th Grade admiring their work.
5th Grade busy at work.
5th Grades assortment of plants.
5th Grade watering the plants!

2nd & 3rd Grades

The growing never stops. Not in the classroom, or out in the real world. That is what the Second and Third grade CRA students discovered during their first-time exploring, and planting in the patch. What a better place to learn about life cycles than watching life itself, that is what lucky second graders are doing in the garden. Third graders are taking math to the garden by learning about math arrays. Between the two grades, they have planted peas, leeks, onions, and plenty of lettuce.

Miss Cho
Miss Cho’s 2nd Graders excited to garden!
2nd Graders busy at work
Mr. Szeto 3rd Graders studying math arrays.
Mr. Szeto 3rd Grade.
Miss Yi’s 3rd Graders planting onions, peas, and lettuce.
3rd Graders working hard.
Discovering, learning ,growing.
3rd Graders using rain-makers that CCC students made to water the garden.
Miss Yi’s Pokemon Garden
We planted all this!

Kindergarten & 1st Grade

The youngest of CRA students had a blast digging, sowing carrot seeds, and planting marigolds. Kindergarten and 1st Grades are learning about community building as well as bringing science, math, and literacy from the classroom into the garden. What better way to get students excited about learning than to allow them to dig in dirt out in the fresh air.

Ms. Tangney and Mrs. Keen’s kindergarten class growing marigolds.
Working on listening skills as kindergarten students learn how to plant marigolds.
Ms. Lockhart and Ms.Hohman’s kindergarten class working hard planting carrot seeds.
1st Grade Ms.Treglia’s class excited to be in the garden!


The gardening has begun, and wow what an impact these young little hands have already made by planting so many edible plants. Students from kindergarten through middle school have all had an opportunity to get their hands dirty filling their assigned planting beds with an array of vegetables. This Fall is going to see a bountiful of produce from lettuce, to snap peas, beans, cauliflower, and leeks just to name a few of the wonderful assortment. Getting CRA students out of the classroom and into the fresh air has created a new learning environment for these young children. They got to move about, apply what they are learning in the classroom, and connect to nature. Each grade is applying the learning experience in a different context depending on how it best fit in with their curriculum.

Next, we will get a window into each grade on their first day of gardening, and a small taste of how they will be taking the classroom to the garden. So stay tuned over the next few days. But first a special message from Nicky Davies, who has worked tirelessly as Garden Coordinator:

“It has been a huge week for planting we would like to thank all the Parent Volunteers for helping make this possible.

Please stop by and check out the garden in person, every garden bed has something in it. Every class has planted”.
Here is a glimpse of how the little patch has transformed over the past week! And make sure to subscribe to the blog so you can stay up to date with the happenings in CRA’s little patch.

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” ~ Audrey Hepburn

Gardening Gloves

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The time has arrived for little hands to start digging in the soil, and for the gardening adventure to begin for CRA students. October 3rd is D-day, so if all students from K-8th can please bring a pair of gardening gloves to keep those hands clean, and safe. If you cannot provide gloves please contact Eve Fein at