The Incarnate Word Learning Garden, completed in 2006, is located on the north-east side of the main building under the Chapel windows, and in front of the kindergarten classrooms. It is ideal as a place for quiet reflection, prayer and outdoor education. Carefully designed and built, the Learning Garden fits into the landscape and the natural beauty of the rest of the property.
Each spring the kindergarten students of Incarnate Word Academy learn about the life cycle of butterflies, as they watch caterpillars build cocoons and emerge as beautiful butterflies in plastic cups in their classrooms; then they release them in the yard outside their classroom windows. The creation of a more natural habitat for the butterflies was a dream the kindergarten teachers had for many years.
In the fall of 2005 plans were set in motion to make their dream become a reality. A core planning committee was formed, which included the two kindergarten teachers, a member of the IWA Board of Directors, and three IWA parents. Initial plans focused on a kindergarten butterfly garden, but the scope of the project expanded to a Learning Garden for all IWA students to use, from Kindergarten through the 8th grade.
Ideas for the design of the Learning Garden were developed from visits to other school and community gardens around the Cleveland area, and from feedback received through a questionnaire sent to all IWA faculty members. The garden design included the creation of five “teaching beds,” that corresponded to some of the initial ways various grade level faculty members envisioned using the garden:
Grades 4 and 8: Rock Garden