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Island third-graders build confidence and greenhouse

Michael Agate, a third-grader from Whidbey Island Waldorf School is busy sowing vegetable seeds in the greenhouse built by Agate and the other nine third-grade students. - Gayle Saran
Michael Agate, a third-grader from Whidbey Island Waldorf School is busy sowing vegetable seeds in the greenhouse built by Agate and the other nine third-grade students.
— image credit: Gayle Saran

The tiny greenhouse sits alone in the center of a vacant field on Campbell Road in Clinton. Working in and around it are 10 third-graders busy planting seeds, tilling earth and carrying buckets of water.

Everybody has dirt on their knees and under their fingernails. All are excited about gardening.

These students make up the third-grade class at Whidbey Island Waldorf School in Clinton.

It may look like they are just playing, but according to their teacher, Natasha Zimmerman, they are learning important life skills.

Some of third-grade Waldorf curriculum focuses on learning life skills such as building and farming.

The students built the eight by 12 structure this spring with the help of their teacher and a few parent volunteers.

"They did most of it themselves."

Math skills were learned when students had to measure and mark cuts on the lumber and openings for the door and glass windows.

Students also poured the concrete foundation.

Adults helped to install the windows.The project took a total of 12 working days.

Rain or shine the students worked to finish the project in time for spring plant-ing.

"It was never a matter of motivating them, we just had to direct their energy." Zimmerman said

Ask the students what they liked best about the project, and there are 10 different answers.

May Wojcik said working in the rain and pouring the concrete foundation were her favorite activities.

Brianna Haimes says she liked roofing, "because we got to pound nails."

Hanging the door the door was fun for Lela Thomas.

Students named the greenhouse, "The Little Glass House."

Seedling containers and pots have been planted with carrots, tomatoes, oregano, dill, columbines, daisys and much more.

Students planted several apple trees outside the structure.

The names of all students involved are on a plaque hung near the door.

Lumberman's in Clinton donated the materials for the project. Still on their wish is a rain barrel, gutters and interior shelving.

Right now they have to carry water in, but with a barrel they hope to collect enough rain for the plants.

Shelter construction, farming, weaving and dying fabric are included in third-grade education at Waldorf School.

Some other third-grade construction projects from previous years include playhouses, worm bins, straw benches and models of homes.

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