Grissom Elementary School

12810 S. Escanaba, Hegewisch neighborhood

Grissom Elementary School before and after greening and gardening by Space to Grow in Chicago

Grissom Elementary School’s new Space to Grow schoolyard features outdoor classroom areas, vegetable gardens and native trees, a jogging track and more. At one of the community gardening days at Grissom, two women who lived in the community for over 10 years met each other for the first time—a perfect example of how Grissom’s Space to Grow schoolyard is bringing the community closer together.

Grissom’s schoolyard encourages learning about nature and the environment, which supports Grissom’s science curriculum. Each spring, students assist in planting flowers and vegetables in the garden. The space features edible Learning Gardens from the Kitchen Community. Since students were involved in the planning of the landscape, the children feel ownership of the space. Said Principal Dennis Sweeney, “Often I hear students talking about ‘their’ playground!”

Not only does the playground benefit the students, it provides free and accessible recreational opportunities for the entire community. After school and on weekends, one can see neighborhood residents jogging on the track, playing basketball or relaxing while enjoying the gardens. “We have a group of parents, students, staff and community members who regularly meet in the garden to weed and water,” said Principal Sweeney. “Some of our retired community members enjoy the well-maintained gardens as the flowers bloom, but especially enjoy watching our happy children at play. Again, since the community provided input in planning the campus, there is ownership. Now, we have a playground to be proud of! The playground has motivated our students, staff and community to become more healthy and active.”

Read More about Grissom Elementary School

January 2016 | Healthy Schools Campaign
Space to Grow Increases Physical Activity Among Students

April 2015 | Healthy Schools Campaign
No More Rain Delays at Grissom Elementary

October 2014 | Lawndale News
Space to Grow Schoolyard Celebrates New Gardens

October 2014 | DNA Info
‘Space To Grow’ Wants Volunteers to Help Finish Grissom Schoolyard Makeover

October 2014 | NWI Times
Hegewisch school to complete work on new green space

September 2014 | Healthy Schools Campaign
A New Frontier for Grissom’s Outdoor Learning and Play

June 2014 | NWI Times
Hegewisch school unveils plan for ‘green’ playground

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