Book Club Questions and Teacher Tips

Rosa’s School Garden—Summer all year long

By Joan Leotta


Rosa’s mother and father walked together to the school after dinner. This was the night they would meet Rosa’s kindergarten teacher, see her classroom and meet some of the other children.

A lot for one night!


Rosa loved her new teacher, Mrs. Gabriel as soon as she saw her. Mrs. Gabriel had a smile that

Spread across her face and big brown eyes that sparkled with happiness.


“She looks like she is always ready to laugh,” said Rosa’s Mother.


As she walked around the classroom, Rosa saw many things that looked like fun—a playhouse,

A pile of letter blocks, number blocks and then, by the window, a large wooden box on legs.


The box was filled with dirt and had seed packets on sticks in parts of the box.


Rosa stood by the box for a long time.


Mrs. Gabriel walked over. “Do you know what this is, Rosa?”


“I know what those pictures are. They are the flowers and herbs in the seed packets. There is a marigold and one is basil.”


“Very good. How do you know all of those , Rosa?”


“They are all things that were in my Aunt Mary’s garden this summer. I helped her in the garden every Thursday.”
“This box is our classroom garden, Rosa. We are going to grow flowers and herbs in the classroom this year. The first week of school we will plant the seeds and begin to care for the garden.”


Rosa smiled.


“The school has a garden of vegetables in the atrium, the center part of the school closed in with glass.”


Rosa looked puzzled.”I thought you could only grow vegetables in the summer where we live.”


Mrs. Gabriel nodded. “Outside, yes, that’s true. But our atrium is enclosed. It is an indoor garden. Rosa, you know a lot about gardens. Would you like to be my special garden helper next week?”


“Oh, yes! I like the idea of an indoor garden. It means we can have summer all year long!



Here are some resources for starting your own school garden: Two are State resources, and one is a Federal resource. They all have good ideas.  Contact your own state’s Extension Office to find more information on the particular soil and climate conditions that will affect your school’s garden.


Of course, many states have restrictions on the use of the produce in school cafeterias, but even if the children cannot eat what they grow, they can take it home or the teachers can eat it  in most states.


Click to access community_gardening.pdf

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