Why Do Students at TLC Garden?


Students at TLC aren’t strangers to getting their hands dirty.  Why?  Because gardening engages students by providing a living environment to observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn.

Back in May, Pre-K students harvested the sugar snap peas they planted in the terrace gardens. They got to taste them and, although unsure at first, they discovered they were delicious!


Gardens are living laboratories where our students learn everything from team work to food production and lessons can be taught across the curriculum.

Before school let out for summer break, these fourth graders helped in the garden by picking off Colorado potato beetles on the potato plants, pulling weeds and pruning our kale trees.

Gardening encourages students to become active participants in the learning process.


The beautification of our campus is a happy result of hands on learning!

Checking in With the Worm Project in 2nd Grade


Second graders checked the progress of their worm bin.  IMG_0142

The worms have digested almost all of their bedding and turned it into fertile humus.  IMG_0143

Students bring compostable food scraps from lunch to feed the worms. IMG_0144

This ties in with an Earth Day unit where students have learned ways to reduce waste by composting organic materials.

Stone Ground Grits Part of Early Bird Breakfast Club

Nutrition Director, Susan Blomeley, is seen proudly displaying House-Autry Stone Ground Grits.

Did you know that TLC specifically sourced whole grain grits to serve at breakfast? House-Autry Stone Ground Grits are made the old fashioned way using granite stones. They grind the whole kernel of corn to retain the natural oils and produce a more flavorful product. TLC Nutrition Director, Susan Blomeley, likes these grits because, “These stone ground grits retain their natural germ and bran, which means they not only taste better, but also retain the antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber usually lost in the refinement process.”

As an added bonus, House-Autry is a North Carolina based company!


Sow True Seeds Supports TLC Garden


Sow True Seed, located in Asheville, North Carolina, is a company founded to encompass more than the idea of selling seeds.  They embrace the corporate philosophy of honoring people, planet, as well as profit.  While profit is necessary to sustain the company and help them meet their goals, equally important to them is supporting the people who make up their tiny company while serving their customers by providing open-pollinated seeds of varieties that enrich the biodiversity of available food and pollinator plants.  Sow True Seed also is sure to act as responsible corporate citizens in working to maintain the health of the community and planet.

The Learning Center! Charter School extends a special thank you to Sow True Seed for sharing your open pollinated, heirloom and organic seeds with us. Our greenhouse and gardens will be full as a result.

Preschoolers in the Garden


Preschool students have been exploring the great outdoors by playing in the garden at TLC!  Students went to explore the feel of garden dirt and see what kind of plants grow in cool weather in the garden.  Students became acquainted with kale and collard greens, and learned that vegetables get their vitamins from the soil.  They also learned that eating fruits and vegetables give us those same vitamins that help us grow big and strong.


Exciting Happenings in First Grade

First graders recently taste tested sweet potatoes grown right here in North Carolina. They took the time to learn about what an important crop it is to our state and how delicious they are to eat!
Recently students in first grade have learned how to play the Italian game Bocce.
First graders were treated to a special performance from a local Western Carolina University Marching Band member!
Back in December 2015, first graders traveled to Andrews to watch the stage production of Winnie the Pooh.


Exciting things are always happening in Ms. Monica’s class!

Promoting Global Worming

Local business owner, Renee Lamance donated a worm bin to be used for study in teacher Emily Willey’s second grade science unit at The Learning Center.

Local masseuse and yoga teacher, Renee Lamance didn’t hesitate to give back to her community when she heard about an unusual request. Lamance, who owns Soul Therapy Massage & Bodywork in Murphy, donated a worm bin to The Learning Center! Charter School when she heard from teacher Emily Willey about an intriguing study unit she was proposing for her 2nd grade students.

“We are beginning an interdisciplinary unit on worms,” said Willey. “The worm unit ties in reading, writing, language arts, math, agriculture, and environmental studies that will weave in and out of the curriculum over the next couple of months.” Willey’s students will be experimenting with vermiculture – the cultivation of earthworms and their by-products for composting.

The addition of the new worm bin, donated by Lamance, will enable students to house the worms for study, conduct experiments, and make observations to learn the importance of worms to soil. Students will also learn how to meet the needs of worms in our environment.  For example, worms need moist soil away from light to thrive. The new worm bin will be housed in the classroom so students can observe how they eat and burrow. The carefully monitored environment will provide the right conditions for worms to thrive.

Renee Lamance, owner of Soul Therapy Massage & Bodywork, pictured with her dog, Kodi. Lamance donated a worm bin for study at The Learning Center.

This unit will tie into the school’s Earth Day lessons on reducing, reusing, and recycling. Said Willey, “The worm bin not only provides an excellent habitat for redworms, but they eat our food scraps, thus providing us with nutrient rich castings for our school garden.”

The school thanks Renee Lamance for her donation and support of education in our community.

Why is 3rd Grade in the Garden?


Third grade teacher, Ms. Jay, shows the gourds and carrots that third graders harvested from their garden plot in early October. Why do TLC students spend time in the garden? Because gardening engages students by providing a living environment to observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn. Gardens are living laboratories where our students learn everything from team work to food production and lessons can be taught across the curriculum. Gardening encourages students to become active participants in the learning process.