ELSA students show their green thumbs in Richmond

ISSofBC’s ELSA literacy class in Richmond showed their green thumbs Tuesday by weeding and planning a garden on their new plot at Brighouse Community Garden.

This was the groups’ first time to see their new plot and the first time ISSofBC Richmond has participated in the community garden program.

“It was wonderful to see my students, so hesitant in other contexts of life in Canada, take command of the garden with confidence and enthusiasm,” said Erin Swayze, ISSofBC ESL Instructor for the ELSA program.

She said the garden helps students understand, personalize and practice concepts
and language such as the 12-month calendar, a graphed chore schedule and the
sound-symbol logic of the alphabet for plants they grow such as garlic.

The garden, in central Richmond, is made available through the Community Partner – Literacy Group, a local partnership that works to enhance literacy in the community.

The ISSofBC plot is alongside other spaces maintained by S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and Richmond Family Place— fellow members of the Literacy Group.

“A lot of other fall crops like squash and kale were growing in adjacent plots and the
students were eager to learn their names in English. Also some plants,
like Brussel sprouts, they’d never seen before,” Erin said.

The students plan to plant garlic over the winter and a variety of edibles in the spring/summer. They may use a portion of the produce to prepare a meal to enjoy in the adjacent Brighouse Elementary School – Neighbourhood Learning Centre’s kitchen and meeting space.

“It appeared from today’s activity that some of the literacy students
are experienced gardeners, so they should be able to share their
knowledge and enthusiasm with their classmates and their teacher,” said Lois Armerding ISSofBC ELSA Manager in Richmond.

ISSofBC’s ELSA literacy classes are designed for students to learn basic literacy skills and to increasingly use language gained in the community. In addition to exploring various settlement topics in the classroom, students are provided with opportunities to make connections in the community. Richmond currently has two literacy classes at its Cedarbridge location.

Learn more about ISSofBC ELSA program

Learn more about Richmond’s Community Garden program

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