Life Skills students discover green thumbs in hands-on learning project

The students in Bradford District High School’s (BDHS) Life Skills class are cultivating their green thumbs as they grow plants in the school’s greenhouse.

Life Skills classes are part of the Special Education programming at the Simcoe County District School Board. This class is a non-credit program that focuses on literacy, numeracy, social, employability and personal skills. The program is customized to suit the needs of each student. Students are integrated into other courses within the school and often participate in cooperative education work placements.

BDHS Greenhouse (8)The students have been learning how to pollinate plants to produce vegetables using a Q-tip to retrieve and spread the pollen. The program started in September with the goal of producing vegetables and herbs that could be used by the class, in the BDHS hospitality program and sold to the community as a school fundraiser.

“This has been a wonderful project. It gives students the chance to learn hands-on about agriculture and horticulture, but also provides a therapeutic aspect as well,” said Kimberley Robertson, Life Skills teacher at BDHS. “Students find the repetitive motion of filling the organic pots with soil quite relaxing. The texture and smells are calming. Many students like the ornamental grasses that were grown in the greenhouse. They will sit during their class and run their fingers through the grass when they need some quiet time.”

The goals for the students are to work as a team, follow instructions, support each other, ask for help and share responsibilities while learning about horticulture and agriculture.

“This project gives Life Skills students valuable work experience that can be transferred to the real world,” Robertson added. “In fact, two of our students come from farming families, and are able to use these skills at home.”

Check out the gallery below of the students at work, and click here to watch a story from CTV Barrie about the program.

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