West Seattle schools: Arbor Heights students grow, sell, give tomato plants to learn, help

At Arbor Heights Elementary, a first-grade class isn’t just talking and learning about healthy food – they’re growing it, too, and ready to share their plants with you. Parent Krista Withers shares the news of a plant sale continuing through the end of the week, and a giveaway planned for weekend after next!

All year long our teacher, Marcia Ingerslev, has been focusing on building healthy habits for lifelong nutrition and good health. In addition to cooking in the classroom each Friday, the children from room 16 have been planting, potting, repotting, watering, and caring for many tomato plants.

These plants will be for sale (by donation) after school at the Arbor Heights Playground this week.

Mrs.Ingerslev explains how this will benefit the class, the school and our community here:

“In the cold days of February, the students of room 16 at Arbor Heights planted two flats of tomatoes. With 400 or more sprouts I figured we would get a couple hundred plants.

We are currently at 400 tomato plants, which confirms what I have always known, anything planted and nurtured by a child grows better than when planted by an adult. Some of the plants have been transplanted several times, others are still waiting for a larger home. We will be selling plants until none remain. On May 19th some of my students are going to be at Safeway on Roxbury to share what they have learned about nutrition. They will have a hundred tomato plants to give away. We want families to be able to eat healthy food. This is our small contribution to that end.

If you can’t wait until then or are interested in purchasing (for a donation) more tomato plants, please contact me at mmingerslev@seattleschools.org. 100% of the proceeds go to fund a native-plant garden and our school and to run Room 16’s nutrition program. All of the seeds, pots, and soil were donated. Manpower was provided by first-grade students.”

After-school sales this week are running from about 3:10-4:05 pm. On Saturday, May 19th, Krista tells us, the students’ visit to Roxbury Safeway (Roxbury/26th) will be from 9:30 am-1:30 pm.

12 Replies to "West Seattle schools: Arbor Heights students grow, sell, give tomato plants to learn, help"

  • Marcia Ingerslev May 10, 2012 (5:44 am)

    Thank you so much for posting this. The children are very excited, as you can imagine. When I gave the information to Ms Withers I gave her a hybrid of my two email addresses. The correct email address to use to get tomato plants is mmingerslev@seattleschools.org. Again, thank you for your support of our project.

    • WSB May 10, 2012 (6:57 am)

      Thanks, Ms. Ingerslev, will update the address in the body of the story … Tracy

  • Band geek's mom May 10, 2012 (6:52 am)

    You GO, Ms Ingerslev!

  • AN AH MOM May 10, 2012 (7:40 am)

    As a mom of another 1st grader in AH – NOT in Ms I’s class – it somewhat saddens me that ALL the 1st grade classrooms aren’t doing this. Why does only one class get to learn about good health and planting food? I know my child has asked me that – how should I answer? Wouldn’t ALL kids benefit from this? I don’t understand how one of three teachers gets to take time to do this and the others don’t? My child also asks me why only “one classroom” gets to release the salmon. Again, they weren’t part of that particular class either.

    This is the main problem in public schools in general. Not only are we pitting school against school in programs, but now between classrooms in the same grade in the same school!

  • Alyce Crawford May 10, 2012 (12:11 pm)

    I am Krista Withers’ mother, and Lucy’s Grandma. I have a green thumb which must be genetic! This story warms my heart because I am in the practice of having plant sales and donating the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Association. Now my grand-daughter is following in my footsteps. I cannot think of a more wonderful gift for Mothers Day.

  • MargL May 10, 2012 (5:28 pm)

    AN AH MOM – have you asked your child’s teacher about this? It might not be a case of “one of three teachers _gets_ to take time to do this”. It might be one of three teachers _chose_ to take the time and extra effort I’m sure it took to acquire and organize the donations and the ‘manpower’ do to this project. The other teachers might have other things they are focusing on.
    It wasn’t mentioned but Ms. Ingerslev might also have more volunteer parents for her class who are able to help on this kind of project. It’s true not all the kids get the same opportunities even in the same grade in the same school. That happens everywhere, but having parents that communicate to _the teachers and staff directly_ and having those that can volunteer at school do so makes a big difference at any school.

  • Krista May 10, 2012 (5:58 pm)

    Each teacher brings different experiences to their classroom. No one is pitting anyone against one another. Teachers and classrooms in public and in private schools are widely different in what they expose the kids to.
    In one of the other first grade classes the teacher is bringing a wealth of information and hands on experience with Art and Art history, I would be thrilled if my child had this experience but that’s not the class she’s in this year. I am happy that our teachers are using the skill sets they have to enrich their classrooms, unfortunately not every child can have access to every classroom.

  • Bonnie May 10, 2012 (7:14 pm)

    AN AH MOM, I’m sorry you feel that way. It probably has more to do with what the teacher feels comfortable with. I’m sure all 3 1st grade teachers have their own special talent that they bring to the class. I, personally, kill all plants and if I were a teacher I wouldn’t make a good example! I don’t think it’s a contest as to which classes ‘get’ to do something. I should complain that my daughter is now in second grade and didn’t get the option of having Mrs. I! From what I understand all the 1st grade classes are equally as good.

  • Mark Ahlness May 10, 2012 (8:27 pm)

    Krista, thanks for sharing your perspective. I agree. There is strength in diversity.

  • Ashley Pattalochi May 10, 2012 (10:26 pm)

    Go Room 16 and Mrs. I! I love that Cooper is part of your class, the kids love you and you are teaching them great lessons and life skills.

  • Fran May 14, 2012 (10:20 am)

    AN AH MOM, my daughter is in Mrs. I’s class. I don’t know if you are aware of this but, Mrs. I implemented a garden at the last elementary school she was at and wanted to build one at AH. This was a huge undertaking and I don’t know how realistic it would’ve been to have all three first grades participate. It is a matter of individual teacher interest and talent. I would have been happy with any of the other first grade teachers as well. The entire first grade team is new this year and all three teachers are outstanding. They do not “compete” with each other, in fact they work very closely together. I’m sorry you feel your child somehow missed out on something but, I’ve heard wonderful things about the other teachers and witnessed a little of what goes on in their classrooms. That end of the hallway has been a very busy and engaging place this year.

  • cwit May 25, 2012 (10:26 am)

    My child is also not in Mrs. I’s class at Arbor Heights but I applaud the work of all 3 1st grade teachers this year (as well as the other teachers at AH).
    My wife and I were worried last year since all new 1st grade teachers were coming in but we’ve been more than happy after having seen how well our child has been doing under their tutelage and seeing how the 3 teachers work together.
    Thanks for all the good work!
    Also, while I’ve not dealt directly with Mr. Ahlness, I certainly know his impact on the school (the AH Wiki, the XO laptops and his work with all the technological aspects at AH, etc.). His presence will be missed after this year.

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