Photo by Elaine Rackley
Kemp Primary School Assistant Principal Dr. Lee Buddy Jr. watches as Kindergarten teacher Julie Essex and teacher’s assistant Kathy Pitts give gardening instructions to the kindergartners.
HAMPTON — The students of Kemp Primary school are learning firsthand how to cultivate flowers, plants, trees and vegetables.
“This one is for you,” said 5-year-old Jha-heim Watkins, to his kindergarten teacher, Julie Essex, as he handed her a purple flower.
“We are learning about plants and living things while beautifying our school,” Essex said.
Her kindergarten class planted and nurtured various plants, herbs and flowers. The students shoveled and patted on dirt as they tended to their garden.
Sweet basil, cabbage, cilantro, oregano and violets are growing in the Kemp school garden.
The school began the nursery project under the guidance of Science Lead Instructor, Tonya Pugh. Pugh is a first-grade teacher at Kemp Primary School which is located at 1090 McDonough Road in Hampton. The school has students from Pre-K through second grade.
Pugh, a Presidential award finalist for the state of Georgia, described the premier project as a “Beautification Outdoor Science Classroom.”
Pugh, Clayton County Master Gardeners Leslie Kimball and Charles Gollins and a group of volunteers made up of students, parents started the gardens surrounding the school. They purchased nearly $600 of garden supplies from Walker Nursery, which gave the school a 25-percent discount, according to Pugh.
“Each class paired with a teacher and has their own garden spot,” Pugh said. “We wanted to make our school more colorful as we planted our flower beds and then a vegetable garden.”
Pugh said there are 16 teams made up of students who planted the gardens.
“One group planted trees, and another planted flowers, and the another group planted vegetables,” she said. “The students will chart the growth of the plants daily using their interactive science notebooks. At the end of the semester leading into the end of the school year, the students will see the fruits of their labor.”