SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Gardening season is upon us here in the Ozarks and one local teacher is making sure the youngest minds in Springfield have an opportunity to learn all about it, with hopes to transform Shady Dell in the process. 

Sherry Charbonneau has been a teacher for nearly 25 years. She has a passion especially for teaching preschoolers.

“It’s just the beginning of getting kids excited about learning,” Charbonneau said.

Nearly a year ago, Charbonneau applied for a grant from the Foundation of Springfield Public Schools. There was an area of Shady Dell that was perfect for a garden.

“We know that digging in the dirt, it just does something to your soul,” said Charbonneau. “You’re connected.”

Five-year-old student Ryker Norrell agreed with his teacher, saying he likes “scraping up stuff.” 

Norrell and his classmates have spent the spring learning how to garden. They started the process by planting seeds. 

“It has lots of plants and we get to work,” said Ryker.

The kids have learned to dig in the dirt, plant and water the garden. It has been a highlight of their preschool year.

As for Mrs. Charbonneau, she hopes this is only the beginning for her little garden.

“I have much bigger ideas,” Charbonneau said.

Mrs. Charbonneau was granted over $2,500 by the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools to help the garden project. 

This particular grant is open for the upcoming school year for teachers to apply. You can find the application on their website