I bought this book after some recommendations through my county's school garden community group (Santa Clara County, CA). I plan to pull some lessons out for our volunteer run program at my school but I am wondering if anyone is currently using it and loves it or has some particular lessons that they like.
What I like in theory about the lessons in this book is that they are concise and I think that several could be followed fairly easily by parents who don't know much about gardening.
The School Garden Curriculum
Have you looked at life lab from Santa Cruz? They have a demonstration garden and curriculum. They also have parent training workshops to help teach outdoor classroom.
Many years ago when I was helping at my sons garden we had an opportunity to do training. I helped with the garden redesign at Booksin elementary in San Jose.
Yes, I have but the Life Lab lessons were too hard to follow for volunteers and many were not in the garden doing actual gardening. We have limited time and I have to find lessons that anyone can do. I think Life Lab lessons are better for the actual teachers but we had about 5 teachers go do the training and maybe one of them actually did anything with that knowledge.
I think we could pick out something from Life Lab to work on during lunches if we can get enough volunteer support so kids don't forget what they started working on. (Right now only one week day lunch time garden access.)Do you have pictures of the Booksin garden or is the campus open for me to check it out? I'm in Los Gatos, so not far.
It's been many years since I've been back to Booksin. My son has already graduated from high school. You can certainly contact the principal and ask if they can do a garden tour for you. We've moved to Idaho and now I teach gardening at a homeschool co-op. I only have 45 -1 hour a week in garden class that doesn't even have its own garden. I've used a mix of lifelab and this free curriculum from Wholefoods. It's certainly harder when parents helping don't actually garden.
I've started to look at this by Matt powers
https://matt-powers.mykajabi.com/the-permaculture-student-online-k-12 but haven't used it in the classroom yet.
Thanks! I will check it out! I may have missed the Whole Kids Foundation curriculum and the book looks interesting. I just met a new parent volunteer and he's a mycologist!! And he has access to the leftover soil to use in the gardens. I have to talk to him more and hope he's available to help us really move this garden space! The permaculture approach would be ideal really.
You might also want to check out lesson plans as part of FoodPrints that can be found at the following link: https://www.freshfarm.org/foodprints/curriculum/lessons
Thanks for sharing this information.
Hi Pamela! I was just thinking about purchasing this book! From the preview, it seemed like a good, whole systems approach to gardening and teaching gardening.
The intro is called "Where Permaculture Meets Science" and I wish that all parents and school administrators could read just the intro. It really shows how gardening encompasses so many important things for children's growth. This is why I am hopeful that the lessons will work! I am about to dive in and tag pages for possible lessons.
It sounds like a book to check out, for sure! I hadn't come across it before, so thanks for introducing it here! I'll be following this thread to see what others have to say about the lessons. :) Be sure to update us after you try out some lessons at your school!
You can spend an eternity going down the school garden curriculum rabbit hole. We use this all the time and love it! The guide is perfect for quick and easy, no fuss lessons. Our team works in several school gardens and we provide this as a reference for classroom teachers who want lessons to incorporate into their content. It is packed with tons of lessons and easy for volunteers(with little experience) to use as well. Dig in and start using it. I think you will love it.
Hi Pamela! I also use this curriculum book and enjoy the quick, easy to follow lessons. I also like how it's broken down by grade level. My one suggestion is that the volunteers may need some additional information if they do not have gardening knowledge. Often, the lesson tells the reader what questions to ask the students (i.e. - What side of the garlic bulb goes down in the soil? or Where are the best places to plant garlic in the garden?) but then does not answer those questions. You do need some background knowledge, or else you will end up researching a bit before teaching. I would still recommend buying this book as it's a great starting point for your lessons!
Thanks I will be careful about the background information. I definitely have at least 4 volunteers with no real experience. One said she just signed up because her teacher was pleading with parents to sign up.... ha. But that means the teacher is vested at least!
Hi Pamela, you have lots of comments to sort through but here is another resource that Classroom in Bloom has developed with teacher and teaching in mind for K-6th grade garden curriculum. It is WA State focused in the context of WA State Science Standards are reflected in each lesson, but that shouldn't matter much.
Hope you found lots of great garden education resources to learn and grow!
Thank you!! I will look at this curriculum! I browsed it briefly but I think I see some cool lessons already for kindergarten. We also have a kinder-1st grade Special ed teacher who loves garden lessons so I can share those with her. She plans them and then asks her volunteer for help.
Hi there! We are also in Santa Clara County! I'm a parent volunteer at the Indigo Program in San Jose.
We started using this book a couple of years ago and we do love how organized it is and easy to outline all the topics, but I personally still end up rewriting the lessons myself each week. I think to fit everything into one book, they had to be brief so there's not always enough information. For example, they will often ask questions in the discussion section then they don't provide the answer (I'm a gardener myself and don't always know the answer! I can't imagine a volunteer who isn't an avid gardener).
Also some of the lessons are meant for calmer kiddos I think. The groups I have are pretty rowdy and need more engagement sometimes. If I asked them to spend 30 minutes doing a detailed drawing of one plant, that would not fly hahaha. So it depends on the students also.
They have topics for each grade level and some are more entertaining than others. We are doing the 4th grade curriculum right now and it is almost entirely about worms. Look, I love worms and what they do for us, but I feel like it zooms in TOO much sometimes and our students need more variety in the topics. Last year we did compost and I was able to make that work with some additional lessons I came up with like fermentation (we made pickles) and tangential topics that had fun activities.
But at the end of the day, it is a great book and covers a great variety of topics, mapping it out very well. I don't really know of any other curriculum books to compare it to though.
Happy to answer any other questions about it! My email is email@example.com
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