Belmont Public Schools
Mary Lee Burbank Elementary School
266 School Street | Belmont, MA 02478
phone: 617 - 993 - 5500
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Burbank Garden Classroom and Vegetable Garden

The Burbank Landscape Initiative aims to enhance the school grounds to better support the curriculum and the core values of the school. The Initiative consists of 3 projects:

  1. Garden Classroom - The Burbank Garden Classroom is an interactive outdoor environment for learning and appreciation of nature. The community of Burbank Elementary School in Belmont, Massachusetts, collaborated to turn an underused area outside the school into a living classroom.
  2. Vegetable Garden - Did you know Burbank has a vegetable garden plot, between the blacktop and parking lot? The goal is to involve all students in some way – starting seeds, planting, tending, and eventually tasting – making the garden a school-wide project that enriches learning in many ways.
  3. Campus Revitalization - Fall and Spring cleanup days help keep all of the gardens and the grounds looking beautiful.

Questions about the gardens or volunteer opportunities? Please email Harriet Wong ( or Heather Barr (  
We welcome your ideas and suggestions!

Gardens and Grounds News

Students in the Garden

All grades K-4 got to enjoy being outside in the gardens this fall for activities and observations related to their curriculum. We are grateful to teachers for making time, and to parent volunteers for leading the activities.

K classes visited the Vegetable Garden, to enrich their study of farms. Students did a scavenger hunt to explore plants at different stages of growth, and insects.


1st graders visited both the Garden Classroom and the Vegetable Garden. They saw how the beanstalks they planted last year had grown tall and made more beans, with seeds inside. They saw that several new pumpkins had grown from the old pumpkin that was left outside by kindergarten class last fall. And they found several black swallowtail caterpillars! These observations connect with their learning about life cycles.


2nd grade classes visited both gardens, reviewed what they knew about plant life cycles, then explored to find examples of plant parts, and signs of fall. They will make use of the gardens again in spring during their science study of soils, compost, and growing.

3rd grade classes explored various herbs in the Garden classroom and learned how they were used in Colonial times for medicine as well as cooking. In the Vegetable Garden students harvested the corn, beans, and squash that grew together as "Three Sisters" - an integrated planting technique used by the native Wompanoag.


4th grade students got to dig for potatoes. Last year's 4th graders experimented with sprouting potatoes, and planted some in giant grow bags out by the vegetable garden. This year's 4th graders discovered an exciting harvest, and made memorable connections to their plant science studies and ELA/Social Studies reading on immigration.

Art teacher Mrs Pond has used the school gardens to inspire compositions and garden produce for drawing. 4th grade students looked to the garden for inspiration in this printmaking project in art class.

BASEC has had a weekly Gardening workshop led by nature educators from Mass Audubon/Habitat. Students have done some planting, harvesting, composting, and other activities as they learn about the plants, insects, and animals in the garden.

BASEC cooking workshops have used Burbank garden produce, including potatoes, tomatoes, kale, and squash.

Minuteman High School students brought their landscaping and horticultural skills to help Burbank for a few days in October. They pruned in the Garden Classroom, planted fall color in Cindy's Garden on School St, planted new ground cover plants in the front beds, and spread mulch for winter protection and weed control. We are grateful for the ongoing partnership with Minuteman's Horticulture & Landscape Program which makes our school grounds more beautiful and more manageable.

Questions or ideas? Please contact Elizabeth Whitley, Heather Barr, Kim Foster, or Harriet Wong.

Allergy concerns? The School Nurse has a list of all vegetables and herbs planted in the gardens. Please contact Ms. Blake or your child’s teacher if you have concerns about allergies or sensitivities.


updated: 7/23/2018 by webmaster
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