Seeds are being planted at Oakland’s Peralta Elementary School. And it’s easy to see them growing — sunflowers, honeysuckle, sprouting fresh vegetables — all a result of an award-winning program that promotes art, community, gardening and parent interaction.
Alameda County supervisor Keith Carson honored the school during the sixth annual Ready to Learn Fun Fair on Saturday. Peralta was selected as a National Blue Ribbon School last month. Tom Torlakson, California’s superintendent of instruction, nominates schools for the award that demonstrate superior achievement, especially in disadvantaged communities. Peralta, with just over 300 students, is one of only two schools to receive this award in Alameda County. Lincoln Elementary in Oakland’s Chinatown received the 2009-10 award.
“We provide an opportunity for our kids, and what they do has meaning for their larger community,” said Peralta principal Rosette Costello. “Students make quilts, visit shelters, work with senior citizens with dementia and do a lot of planting. It’s a family here.”
The fair included face painting, crafts, OFD fire truck tours and pick-up sports with UC Berkeley athletes. More than 20 visiting organizations came out in support of family wellness, including, Alameda County Community Food Bank, Life Long Medical Care, East Bay Regional Park District, Oakland’s Public Library and The California State PTA.