Cultivating creativity and life skills at Solar Prep for Girls

For over a decade, Andie Threatt has dedicated herself to Dallas ISD, working as an elementary art and Makerspace teacher at Solar Prep for Girls. Her role has grown into a passion for hands-on learning, sparking creativity, and fostering life skills among her students. One of her more notable achievements is the creation of the school’s outdoor learning classroom and garden, developed in partnership with Out Teach. 

Seeing students share what they had learned in the garden with their classmates is a live demonstration of how Threatt’s classroom techniques have been successful. Her techniques include a Makerspace approach, which combines math, engineering, and technology and uses design thinking processes to solve real world problems or create something new or alter something that already exists. 


Many Dallas ISD schools have Makerspace labs/teachers, and Solar was one of the first to integrate it into the curriculum. She incorporates the approach in the garden as much as possible and throughout other lessons.


“When I first stepped into Solar, I saw it as the perfect fit—a learning environment that made me excited to come to work every day,” Threatt said. 

The Garden Club, one of Solar Prep’s extracurricular offerings, started from the desire to cultivate a collaborative space for students to explore nature’s wonders. 


“Our goal for the garden club has been to show students what it takes to plan for and grow a garden, not just for food, but also as a way to relax and feel accomplished,” Threatt said.


From organizing garden clean-up events to integrating gardening tasks into curriculum activities, the club has developed into a center of community involvement. 


“We want Solar families to know that this is their space to enjoy. We also need their knowledge and experience,” Threatt said. 


Through active participation in the Garden Club, students not only learn practical gardening skills but also develop a heightened awareness of their natural surroundings.


“Spending time in nature helps you learn how to pay attention in a new way,” Threatt said.


Despite challenges, such as overcoming fears of bugs and fostering a sense of responsibility towards pollinators, Threatt continues her dedication to creating a supportive atmosphere for her students.


Threatt’s passion demonstrates the power of hands-on learning to shape young minds and link them to nature.


As National Garden Month continues, Threatt invites educators and the community to enjoy the benefits of gardening. 


“Start small and stay curious. The district provides free seeds and dirt through the Living Materials center so just start trying stuff out with your students. Getting to learn it together side by side will be a great experience for everyone,” she said.

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