Disney, Disney Springs, Family Fun

Disney VoluntEARS Bring Teaching Garden to Life

Part of the magic of Disney is their commitment to giving back to the community and last week I was invited to be a part of the magic as it participated with the Disney VoluntEARS and bring the Teaching Garden to Life. There is a Chinese proverb that says:

What I hear- I forget, what I see- I remember, what I do – I understand.

 Disney VoluntEARS Teaching Garden

In my own classroom, I have done my best to incorporate that philosophy into everything I say and do. Apparently, this is also the guiding philosophy of the faculty, staff and community of Walt Disney Elementary School in Anaheim, California where they are “Soaring to Success”. Several weeks ago I was lucky enough to be on hand and joined in with the Disney VoluntEARS and representatives from the American Heart Association as we worked alongside the students, faculty, and families as the Walt Disney Elementary School Teaching Garden went from dream to reality. Sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA), with funding support from Disneyland Resort, the school became one of 14 Teaching Garden schools in Orange County and the first in Anaheim. You could feel the excitement in the air as the garden came to life. Projects throughout the morning included the actual building and filling of the planter boxes to planting the herbs and vegetables, to painting opportunities on the mural, rocks and trash cans that would be used to beautify the garden. Every grade level was given the chance to participate and while the upper-grade students filled the planter boxes in an assembly line fashion using filled buckets of dirt, the kindergarten students were just as much involved as they filled their red cups and contributed in their own way. By giving the students and community the opportunity to be a part of the planning and be an integral part in bringing the garden to fruition, every person there felt as though they had ownership in the project. In just a few hours, an incredible new space was created where parents will continue to work alongside teachers and students to sustain the garden for at least three years, with supplies provided by the Disneyland Resort.

Disney VoluntEARS Teaching Garden

Students exclaimed their delight in showing me which parts of the garden they worked on, and were anxious to share their newfound gardening expertise while teachers all told me that thanks to the leadership and support of their principal, who was largely responsible for bringing the Teaching Garden to Walt Disney Elementary School that this was not just “another binder that would sit on a shelf” but something that could and would be used throughout the curriculum, Not one teacher felt that this was something extra they “had to do” but rather a wonderful enhancement in bringing many of the curriculum areas to life. The garden-themed lessons will help to teach nutrition, math, science and other subjects all while having fun in the fresh air and working with your hands.

The Teaching Garden was developed using AHA science and nutrition guidelines, as well as information shared by gardening and education experts. More than just a garden, it is a learning laboratory where student’s plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce, and in the process learn the value of good eating habits.


Growing the Teaching Garden

These Teaching Gardens, which have flourished throughout California, are part of an effort to fight childhood obesity and encourage healthier schools, families and communities in Orange County.

The Teaching Garden program is part of a larger AHA “My Heart. My Life” healthy living initiative, designed to help Americans understand what it means to be healthy, and to take action. For more information about the Teaching Gardens program and how bring it to your own school community, contact or for more information about the Teaching Gardens program and how you can participate, visit www.heart.org/teachinggardens.

Thank you to the Walt Disney Elementary School and the Disney VoluntEARS for allowing me to be a part of this very special day.


What I hear- I forget, what I see- I remember, what I do – I understand.