At Pleasant Valley Elementary School, students are taking part in a true farm-to-table experience by growing vegetables that will later be used in their meals.
And thanks to a donation from Bob Wade Subaru, the learning experience will be enhanced.
Pam Dowrey, principal at Pleasant Valley Elementary School, said Bob Wade Subaru donated $10,000 toward the school’s outdoor classroom space as part of the Subaru Loves Learning initiative.
The initiative aims to help students during their learning careers. Kevin Knott, with Bob Wade Subaru, said many students lack supplies and learning materials, and the donation helps teachers cover out-of-pocket expenses for their classrooms.
“It’s awesome for us to give back to the community and to someone who will use it and help grow students and their learning,” Knott said.
Dowrey said the donation will go toward constructing a pavilion over the outdoor classroom’s concrete pad, which will provide students more opportunities to spend time outdoors.
At Pleasant Valley Elementary School, Dowrey said, each grade level is responsible for a portion of the garden area. Various vegetables and herbs are grown by the students year-round and include tomatoes, green peppers, squash, cabbage, corn and zucchini.
“Each grade gets something different,” Dowrey said.
Although Dowrey has only been with the school since the start of the 2021-22 school year, she said out of all the grade levels, first-graders are able to learn the most through the outdoor classroom experience.
Dowrey said the school is home to numerous English language learner students who have limited English proficiency. With some students not being from the area, Dowrey said they don’t understand where food comes from and oftentimes believe food only comes from a grocery store.
Through the outdoor classroom experience, Dowrey said students are able to watch vegetables grow, cultivate them and help with harvesting.
“During summer school, we took the vegetables in and made a summer medley,” she said. “It’s like a farm-to-table atmosphere.”
Dowrey said by receiving the donation from Bob Wade Subaru, the students will continue to learn in the outdoor classroom knowing they were supported by the local dealership.
“It’s a cycle of supporting one another,” she said.
Knott said the business was proud to be a part of the outdoor learning program and happy to donate to a local school.
“It means so much that we can give back to the teachers and students,” he said. “Knowing that the money is going toward an outdoor learning center is amazing.”