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Kilough Elementary receives grant for storybook garden and outdoor classroom
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Lowe's, a home-improvement store, awarded Kilough Elementary School with a $4,900 Toolbox for Education grant to create a storybook garden and outdoor classroom.


Kristi Bearden, media specialist for Kilough Elementary School, and Patrick Muenchen, a physical education teacher at the school, wrote and applied for the grant.


"The storybook garden is going to be a wonderful hands-on learning site for the students," said Bearden, who added that the storybook garden will also be utilized for a number of different activities.


In addition to bringing stories to life, students can also use the garden for science projects, measurements, planting, soil analysis and earth science observation.


Kilough is one of 1,000 schools or parent organizations to be awarded a Lowe's Toolbox for Education grant for parent-initiated school improvement projects benefiting public education K-12 across the country during the 2008-2009 school year.


According to the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, the Toolbox for Education program is providing more than 1,000 grants totaling $6.5 million during the 2007-2008 school year.


"By supporting schools like Kilough, we believe we are contributing to a cause that's important to our customers and employees and helping build a stronger foundation for the children who will be tomorrow's employees, homeowners and community leaders," said Larry Stone, chairman of Lowe's Charitable and

Educational Foundation.


"The storybook garden and outdoor classroom will create an interactive learning with literature. Students will have a wonderful outdoor classroom and will experience a hands-on approach to learning," said Muenchen.


Each grade level will create a garden to reflect a particular literary work. Students will help plant and maintain the garden.


"This will allow not only interaction with literature, but also science and math. This hands-on learning will be meaningful to students and promote creative thinking, problem solving, and working together," said Bearden.


Parents, students, staff, local civic groups, local businesses and Lowe's of Cumming are all working together on the project.


"Community involvement is crucial to the success of this project," said Bearden. "We are going to have volunteer work days to get the community to complete the storybook garden."


According to Bearden, eventually the students in each grade-level will take over their portion of the garden and maintain it themselves.


The project is scheduled to be completed this spring.


The Parent Teacher Organization has also contributed funds to the project, according to Bearden.


The gazebo has already been installed. Volunteer workdays have yet to be announced.


For more information, call Bearden at (706) 216-8595, Ext. 2020.