Plants, Dirt and Worms Will Teach Some Winston-Salem Children Math and Reading
Latch Key, Inc. is turning a garden into a classroom.This non-profit provides a safe afterschool environment for children so they don’t have to be home alone. One of the group’s programs introduces youth to gardening. Last month, Winston-Salem city officials donated a two-acre plot on 1718 Bramble Brook Lane in East Winston to Latch Key. The organization has turned it into a community garden.Saturday June 8, the group will host a clean-up day there. From 9 a.m.-11 a.m., children are invited to learn how to weed, check for new growth and general care of the plants. Youth volunteers have already planted 52 rows of vegetables and now things are growing including; corn, peas, peppers, squash and tomatoes.
CEO Michael Burton calls the garden the ultimate teaching tool for youth ranging in age from 5 to 17. “We’ll show them how to open a fruit and vegetable stand to create a job for themselves. In terms of math, children will learn how to weigh produce and understand the numbers," explains Burton. He says they'll also practice reading skills to know how to market their businesses as well as "...knowing how deep to plant squash and tomato plants or how long to go between watering your plants.”
According to Burton, a number of their crops are beginning to sprout including corn, peas, tomatoes, peppers and squash. And next month, Burton says the youth will help build raised plant beds accessible to people in wheelchairs.
Also beginning June 17, Latch Key will host a free camp centered on the garden. It’ll be held at Alpha and Omega Church on Gray Street. "We are offering a mini-camp from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday. We’ll provide breakfast and then the children will go through agriculture classes, reading, math and leadership development," says Burton. "Then the children will apply these concepts as they work in the garden." About 60 children have already signed up for the camp, which runs through early August. Burton says things are coming together for the camp but they still need donations of wood, soil, tools and flowers for the youth.