Mott Road Elementary School has a new spot where inspiration grows and positivity blossoms.
Located in the school’s former vegetable garden area, the Mott Road Rock Garden is now open for students to enjoy during their recess periods. The space is an outdoor area where students can relax and recharge while being surrounded by colorful rocks that have positive messages and uplifting words written on them.
“The garden is designed to spread peace, love and happiness,” said Jackie Booher, Mott Road speech language pathologist and rock club adviser.
Earlier this school year, third-grade students spent time painting rocks as part of Project T.E.A.M. Day. The hands-on learning event, which stands for Teaching Everyone at Mott, focuses on increasing student awareness about disabilities and encourages social interactions between students of all abilities. During the workshop, students rotate through various stations and learn more about topics such as visual and hearing impairments, and medical, learning and physical challenges. The stations are led by presenters who have specialized knowledge of the topic.
While students painted rocks, they learned about assistive technology and how it helps improve and enhance learning and enables and promotes inclusion and participation. The hand-painted rocks crafted during Project T.E.A.M. Day became the garden’s inaugural crop.
Booher said starting a rock garden seemed like a good way to enhance the school’s character education program, The Positivity Project, and its mission to empower America’s youth to build positive relationships and become their best selves.
“We want to remind students to ‘pay it forward,’ so to speak,” she said. “The character education program is all about positivity in action.”
Mott’s garden beds used to host fruit and vegetable plants, but caring for a live garden became too challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic when students and staff were not physically at school, Booher said.
This spring, Mott’s kindergarten, first and second-grade classes took ownership of preparing and beautifying the garden beds so they could be used again – this time, for a low-maintenance rock garden.
A group of about 15 students now comprise Mott’s first-ever Rock Garden Club. The group not only cares for Mott’s garden after school, they are expanding their efforts and decorating rocks to share with the greater F-M community.