Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

A Kinder Garden: A Profile of Rose Ferrigno (page 2 of 2)

by Charlie Nardozzi

Stress Reliever

The gardens also are a way to relieve tension and stress for Rose and the students. Since the kindergarten is an all-day program, the kids need a place to rejuvenate themselves. Being in the garden helps relieve tension and anxiety, while getting fresh air, exercise, and sunshine. It's especially helpful for Rose because she suffers from MS. "I get fatigued and tired easily and need to watch myself in the sun due to my medication," she says. The garden is a place for her to just relax.

"When my spirits need a lift, I go out to the garden, and as soon as I do, my concerns and worries seem to disappear. I talk to my plants and tell them how much they mean to me. My kindergarten students laugh when I tell them how I speak to the plants," she says. Even though she has to limit her time in the garden, her doctor says that gardening is keeping her young.

Growing Towards the Future

Her kinder garden has become so popular that parents are requesting their young children to be in Rose's class because they know the garden will be part of the curriculum. In many cases, Rose has taught the older siblings in these families, and the younger ones often come along to help even before they're in school. "By the time the young ones are school age, they expect to be gardening when they're in my class because they've seen their older brothers and sisters doing it. To them it's just part of the fabric of kindergarten life," says Rose.

Rose is planning on retiring next year, but she's working hard to make the garden and related activities a part of the ongoing kindergarten curriculum. "I'll still be around volunteering and helping because I gain as much from the garden as the kids do," she adds.

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