By Judy Funderburk
Ms. Jessica Berg’s 2nd grade class walked from their school to the Glencarlyn Library Community Garden bearing a gorgeous homemade gift! It is a wind chime made from repurposed bamboo that the children found invading the back of their schoolyard. After the bamboo was cut into varied lengths, each “chime” was individually hand-painted by a child, each of whom chose their own paint colors and design. It is truly a work of art – some chimes wild and modern, others carefully painted in beautiful colors; a few include small drawings of birds and turtles. Once painted, the chimes were carefully strung to hang from a sturdy stick which serves as a holder. Our wind chime is now hung in a cedar tree overlooking the front walkway into the back patio garden, greeting all who think to look up and notice that a special kind of garden art now resides above, enhancing what we see in the garden below. When the wind blows, the chimes knock against each other and make a lovely sound. Special thanks to Garden Coordinator Paul Nuhn for being willing to climb a ladder and lean rather precariously over a branch to hang our wind chime up high where he says “boys” will not throw stones, and where the wind can blow through!
The children were amazing too. When we took an experiential walk-through in the Library Garden, they were very attentive, asking thoughtful questions to learn more about what they were seeing, while also being quite adventurous in tasting and smelling. Afterward they all squeezed into the gazebo, enjoyed looking out through the hop vines, talked about what they had learned, and asked many more questions.
Campbell Elementary is a special Arlington County Public School which describes its mode of teaching as “Expeditionary Learning Experience.” Their schoolyard is an outdoor classroom, complete with pond, ducks, wetland, turtles, bugs, worms, insects, plants, and lots more that the children learn from and help tend. Because the children in this public school do outdoor “observations” as part of their learning experience, these 2nd graders knew how to engage with the natural world and loved learning more about something that already intrigued them. It was a very special treat to spend time with them in the Library Garden AND receive such a beautiful gift created by caring 2nd grade hands to ornament our garden.