Schooling opportunities come to Pinecrest Gardens

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It is a defining moment in time where the “new normal” becomes far more than a COVID-19 catch phrase. We all worry about our loved ones, their health and well-being. We worry about our children and their education. The daunting situation for parents, teachers, caregivers and tutors is beyond description. As Director of Pinecrest Gardens, I feel a personal responsibility to do our part in lending a helping hand on filling a void. With that, the following column, featuring some new initiatives in education conceived by our Educational Coordinator, Lacey Bray, is a testament to our desire and commitment to our community while addressing the needs of our greater community.

Now more than ever our society is identifying the importance of alternative education opportunities. From virtual programs to flexible in-person and “at your doorstep” education initiatives, institutions across the country are learning to adapt and move forward.

Pinecrest Gardens is no exception. This fall, we will be introducing some new programs, and giving our familiar programs a new twist. Understanding and flexibility are at the core of these programs, as we develop new ways to include learning opportunities that fit for all.


If in-person learning doesn’t suit you at the moment, we’re building up our virtual programs with online horticulture classes, short educational videos and blogs. If you are ready to get back out there, our flexible in-person programs will safely provide a space for your children to learn in a hands-on environment. Whatever your outlook is, we promise to keep you included and learning alongside us this season. *See below.

Here are a few items on the Education agenda at Pinecrest Gardens:

Little Lizards will resume in September with in-person programming. Similarly to before, the programs will be free with admission and will offer families hands on science and art experiences in The Garden. New to this program will be reservation of spots through our online ticketing. This allows us to keep the registration numbers at a minimum and control the amount of guests attending. Socially distanced, accessible and fun learning is our mission! You must register for Little Lizards before the class, registration links can be found on our website. Little Lizards occurs Wednesdays at 2:00. p.m., with weekly activities following a monthly theme; ages 4-9. *See below.

Discovery Lab is taking alternative Education to a new level. An organization managed by certified teachers, Discovery Lab will be conducting in-person programming for the fall semester. These face-to-face programs include full day instructional assistance, after school programs and flexible options for home school or supplemental instruction. The programs are led by MDC certified educators and will assist students with their virtual schooling as well as provide enrichment activities in various topics. Discovery Lab Learning is great for parents who need a little extra assistance in making sure schoolwork is done, or for students that crave the in-person learning style. Discovery Lab will be offering full day, partial day and after school programs. Programs all require advanced registration, and spaces are very limited to ensure social distancing and safety protocols. Check our website, www.pinecrestgardens.org for the upcoming schedule and full list of programs. *See below.

ArtCademy is back for the fall semester, providing in person programs at limited capacities. The KidCademy program is a two-hour class that combines motor skills development, exercise, art music and play. Kids and parents will part take in this interactive preschool preparatory environment at Pinecrest Gardens. Participants can choose from classes 1x a week, 2x a week or 3x a week. This program is great for those looking for a flexible learning schedule for little ones. The classes are for children 19 months to 4 years and their accompanying parents. *See below.

The Curious Gardener Workshop Series is bringing garden learning to you! We have revamped our workshops at Pinecrest Gardens to make learning more accessible and fun! The upcoming season includes free short educational videos, virtual workshops and in-person learning options. The current schedule includes videos and virtual workshops monthly, and in-person workshops beginning in October. Join us in September for a virtual gardening class to learn about sensory gardening, or the following month for a fun Halloween themed garden craft workshop. Each month is an opportunity to learn something new! The full schedule can be found on our website at www.pinecrestgardens.org. Prices and registration space vary. In-person class spaces are limited and pre-registration is required for all workshops. *See below.

Virtually Visit Pinecrest Gardens by using our OnCell tour and reading our Blog, Digging Pinecrest. If you want to experience The Garden, but prefer to do it from the comfort of your home, we have updated our OnCell garden tour with new information and photos for each stop. Included in the tour are 32 points of interest, taking you on a virtual adventure through The Garden. The tour is easily accessed through your phone or computer web-browser at https://pinecrestgardens.oncell.com, or by simply dialing 305-909-0007, to navigate the stops, and listen to the audio descriptions. The tour, generously sponsored by First Bank is offered in both English and Spanish, and can be used anytime, anyplace. Whether you’re using the tour at The Garden or on your couch, learn about Pinecrest Gardens like never before! Another way of virtually visiting is to check out our blog, Digging Pinecrest for behind the scenes info, garden how-to’s, and at home activities. You can follow along the blog by visiting diggingpinecrest.blogspot.com — it’s a great way to keep up with all things Pinecrest Gardens!

Cortada Science Art Academy at Pinecrest Gardens invites students to participate in an immersive outdoor after-school program developed by renowned eco-artist Xavier Cortada, Pinecrest Gardens’ Artist-in-Residence. Led by Adam Roberti, Master of Professional Science and Director of Cortada Projects, students dive deep into Cortada’s science art practice and discover how they can use the power of art to make change in their communities. Through engaged studio sessions and presentations in our outdoor venues, students will use their creativity and leadership to help conserve Florida’s ecosystems, defend global biodiversity, and advance the work of climate scientists at the Earth’s poles.

Presented by Pinecrest Gardens, the Academy will be offering three daily after-school programs (Grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) with limited capacity to ensure all social distancing and safety protocols are followed. All classes will simultaneously be available via ZOOM for a distance learning alternative during the pandemic. Programs require advanced registration and payment at www.pinecrestgardens.org. Learn more at www.cortadaprojects.org/academy .

*All in-person participants will follow Pinecrest Gardens Safety Protocols including wearing masks, following PPE guidelines, and health screenings


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