After the death of Helen C. Peirce, her husband and friends donated money in her honor to beautify the school and its grounds. Exterior work included a beautifully landscaped park designed by Jens Jensen. Unfortunately, the park was dismantled during the war because of the high cost of maintenance.
Gardening activities resumed in 1991 in the area west of the present garden as a volunteer classroom project under the guidance of many former and present Peirce teachers, parents, and community members. With their dedication and creativity a community garden has continued to flourish. The garden was then moved to its present location to make room for the new addition.
Eventually, the garden became part of a School Garden Initiative. It was awarded a School Garden Grant Initiative grant. Through the grant and in collaboration with the Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago Park District, and Garfield Park Conservatory, the garden was enhanced and expanded to its present form. Known as the “Garden of Knowledge,” the garden now comprises ABC, school colors, sensory, butterfly, shade gardens and a natural area. Spring planting activities enable approximately 250-300 children from various grade levels to engage in hands-on gardening activities. In addition, volunteer teachers, parents, students, and community members participate in garden maintenance which includes a large initiative each April during the annual Peirce Clean-Up Day.
The garden was designed to be used as an outdoor classroom for science, reading, art, and a host of other activities. Our newest addition, the Community Kitchen Learning Garden, introduces the families of Peirce to gardening, healthy eating, and creating an outside learning environment.