School Garden —
Outdoor Learning Center
In conjunction with a family-style lunch program, students plant, cultivate, and harvest in a student run garden. The garden boasts multiple beds, including those specific to grade level curricula. In addition, a school garden provides a memorable space for discussion, art, movement, and classroom gathering.
The Benefits of Outdoor Learning
In addition to the educational value of nature-based programming are the health benefits of getting outdoors.
- To improve mood and create happier students
- To enhance appreciation for the outdoors through interaction
- To increase retention rate for subject material
- To improve learning experiences for tactile and experiential learners
- To lower school violence and bullying, and to improve social skills
- To increase the understanding of complex ecological concepts
- To incorporate physical activity across subject areas
- To provide non-traditional classroom settings allowing teachers to engage various styles of learning
- To create community engagement
Components of a School Garden
Whether it’s in a schoolyard, parking lot or a rooftop, when creating a school garden, here are some things to keep in mind…
- Create a community gathering space — This is where lessons can begin and end.
- Have at least one composting bin — A component of understanding the closed-food-loop cycle.
- Design grade level plots — so each grade can determine what to grow that ties into the classroom curriculum.
- Designate a tool area — Keep it organized and teach the lesson of “Leave No Trace.”
- Shade structures should be considered for very sunny spots — We all get hot and need a break.
- Remember plants’ reliance on water — Have hoses accessible and easy to move around.