Garden of the Month: November 2015
The Gardens at SHED Children’s Campus
History: Celebrating over Thirty Years in Andover
In September of 1984, SHED (Shawsheen Extended Day) was established by the Andover Department of Community Services (DSC) as an extended-day kindergarten program located in the Shawsheen School. By the following year, SHED became an incorporated non-profit program governed by a board of directors and licensed by the state of Massachusetts. As the needs of the community shifted, founders began investigating expanded school-aged childcare. In the fall of 1991, SHED opened, Kid’s Club, a before and after-school program for children in 1st-5th grade. By 1997, SHED had grown to serve over 120 children across all programs. After acquiring space on the campus of Phillips Academy Andover, SHED launched a capital renovation program building a new facility for Kid’s Club and renovating an old laundry building for the SHED kindergarten program. Since then, services have expanded, and in 2011, the name, SHED Children’s Campus, was adopted to reflect the diversity in program breadth.
Today, SHED Children’s Campus services nearly 450 families residing in Andover and the neighboring communities on the beautiful campus of Phillips Academy Andover. Our approach is inspired by the educational tradition of Reggio Emilia, Italy, which is based upon the principles of respect, responsibility and community through an emerging and child-centric environment. Programs are offered for children and youth 2.9-15 years throughout the year.
Commitment to Outdoor Education
SHED Children’s Campus recognizes children to be inherently inquisitive, and believe curiosity is deepened through learning opportunities that exist beyond classroom walls. Our organizational philosophy holds deep roots and connections to nature, which can be witnessed through our expanding outdoor educational venues and commitment to sustainable practices.
Over the last several years, SHED Children’s Campus has placed great emphasis on enhancing our outdoor learning environments. Since embarking on this initiative, the organization has made significant progressions in infusing these elements into all curricular aspects.
Presently, the organization has fifteen raised garden beds, a mockingbird and hummingbird garden, an alphabet garden, a three-bin composting system, rain barrels, a mud kitchen, and an evolving outdoor classroom. These outdoor spaces serve as the primary vehicle for promoting environmental literacy while encouraging deep levels of creative inquiry and social responsibility.
During July 2015 alone, SHED Children’s Campus harvested well over 200 pounds of fresh produce grown throughout fifteen raised garden bins. From July 6th to August 28th, at least two of the ten weekly snacks provided to 120 children, was not only supplied by the food grown in our garden, but was prepared by the children themselves. In addition, over the course of the summer, a three-bin composting system was filled and a two-yard recycling dumpster was emptied weekly.
Do you have a fabulous Outdoor Classroom that you would like to showcase as a Garden of the Month? There is so much we can learn from eachothers gardens. What did you learn from the Shed Gardens Children’s Campus? Share your comments below.