Learning & Growing in the Garden: KIPP SoCal Partners with GrowingGreat

Learning & Growing in the Garden: KIPP SoCal Partners with GrowingGreat

To connect students with Mother Nature, KIPP Empower Academy (KEA) and nonprofit GrowingGreat are celebrating Earth Month in KEA’s garden! From growing seeds and plants to edible produce, our school garden helps extend the classroom beyond traditional settings for limitless learning opportunities, including environmental awareness. 

The importance of garden education is vital, so while KIPPsters have been Distance Learning, our KEA After-School Program Site Coordinator Melody Moore has partnered with GrowingGreat to bring engaging garden activities to KIPPsters' homes through Zoom. “We’re keeping students and families connected to nature until they can return to dig in their school garden again,” shared Mrs. Moore. “This great virtual experience allows our students to learn how to plant and harvest fruits, vegetables and herbs in their home environment.”  

“Kids who grow their own veggies are more likely to enjoy eating veggies,” said Jennifer Jovanovic, Executive Director at GrowingGreat. “We at GrowingGreat are committed to inner-city families and doing everything we can to support them while they’re learning at home,” she added. “Garden and nutrition activities are not only a fun break from looking at the laptop and something parents and children can enjoy together, but also provide opportunities to think and learn like scientists do, and – you can eat your experiments!”

In fact, Mrs. Moore recalls an ‘ah-ha’ moment when our young KIPPster was so happy to see all the fruits and vegetables being harvested at her school and stated, “I cannot wait to get to school to eat all the fruits and vegetables.” Mrs. Moore said that this curriculum where students get to learn and interact with Meghan Nealon, GrowingGreat’s STEM Program Manager, has been really interesting and fun, so much so that “students are never ready to go when the class is over.”

Working together with GrowingGreat has helped empower our KIPPsters to make healthy food choices through hands-on science and garden education — “it has truly made a difference in our students' lives,” emphasized Mrs. Moore. This beautiful partnership also builds authentic connections and “it encourages community members to be involved and share their knowledge and expertise with students,” said Mrs. Moore. 

Mrs. Jovanovic agrees, “our partnership with KIPP SoCal feels like family. We are welcomed by the educators and the children. We are honored not only to be part of the after-school Garden Club, but also to be integrated into science classes and be a resource to KIPP SoCal teachers!”

Overall, our KEA garden is, indeed, a powerful teaching tool that continues to foster community and exploration. By working together, our team, students, and communities prepare for a bright, blooming future.

Interested in ‘GrowingGreat From Home’? Join Meghan on a seed sleuthing, fruit fractions and five sense adventures! Bilingual PDF also available.

For more, check out these bilingual fun activities that you and the family can do together.