Monday, June 15, 2015

The Green Room

Last Thursday, we dedicated our new greenhouse. I showed you the plans about a month and a half ago and told you the story about how we got from there to here.

It was a warm celebration on a beautiful day, combining the Woodland Park School community, with the University of Washington architectural community, including the graduate students, their parents, friends, and faculty, and the Fremont Baptist Church community. Pastor Gay blessed the greenhouse with prayer, the children got their first opportunity to play there, and the rest of us patted one another on our collective backs for a job well-done.

The children, of course, enjoyed all the many chalk board surfaces.

There was food and drink and an ice cream truck. I got to cut the ribbon. It was an afternoon of congratulations.

These barrels (formerly used to store mint oil) contain water and retain heat to keep our greenhouse warmer, longer. This central table was designed so that one side makes it child-height, while standing on the other makes it adult-height.

This is a significant addition to Woodland Park's third teacher.

I went back, on my own, the day after the party, craving a little time alone with it. We're not accustomed to nice, new things at our school, generally preferring to cobble our space together from the re-purposing of cast-offs and refuse

Most of the "glass" is opaque, but there is a row of curved windows at child-eye height so they can see out.

Like most preschool teachers, I'm a middle class bag lady and being there alone in this gorgeous new space left me feeling excited, sure, but also a little intimidated.

Dozens of people have worked to make this happen, over the course of years, really. 

There is still a lot of outside planting/landscaping left for us to figure out. For instance, what should we grow on that trellis?

The goal is a world class urban preschool gardening program, to educate children about their food, to give them the opportunity to become intimate with the cycle of seed to table and back again into the soil. My dream is that our children eat something they have grown themselves every, single day, year-round.

This window leads into our classroom. Children will be able to view the greenhouse from indoors.

Now we just have to do it.

I'm not a natural gardener, so I'm going to need a lot of help making this thing work. I'm not too worried about this year and the next -- the momentum from this project among our parent community remains high. I suspect we'll have plenty of folks seeking to contribute in all kinds of ways. We even already have someone writing it all down, keeping records of what and when we can grow things, a record I'm hoping can be passed along, amended, and improved year after year, until our greenhouse, a place I'm already calling "The Green Room" in my internal dialogs, is something we can't imagine living without.

The work is finished. 

The work is just beginning.

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Unknown said...

Fabulous!!!! What an amazing space. Congratulations on so much hard work coming to fruition! Thank you for sharing this fantastic addition to your environment. You are truly an inspiration to all!! Thank you again for your creativity, passion, dedication and excitement. It shines through so bright in all of your posts. The world is lucky to have you Teacher Tom!!! Keep up the good work. You inspire!!

Katharine Wise said...

How exciting -- and gorgeous! Suggestion for the trellis: Northern (hardy) kiwi. If you're not familiar with it, the fruit is to kiwi what the kumquat is to an orange: grape-sized, edible skin.

Rafer Nelsen said...

Rad. Sarah's thumb is pretty dang green, and mine used to be...


Rafer Nelsen said...

Rad. Sarah's thumb is quite green and mine used to be...


Denise said...

This is gorgeous! Such a beautiful natural space! Good luck with all the gardening. And kudos to those who made this work!