Integrating Curriculum Into Your School Garden
Most teachers are already pressed for time teaching to existing curriculum. Therefore, outside garden activities should enhance and tie into classroom curriculum whenever possible. The following questions will help assess the development of curriculum within a school.
- Will the whole school use the garden or only certain classes? Will there be a flow of garden curriculum throughout the grades or will only certain teachers use the garden?
- Determine which teachers have interest and experience in gardening and which have interest but no experience.
- Are there structures in place such as school wide composting, a reduce/reuse/recycle program, or a Green team that can support the garden curriculum?
- Will parents lead the classes or parents and teachers together? Ideally, they should teach together. In this way, teachers can reinforce and enhance the student’s classroom-based activities with outdoor learning.
- Determine the amount of time that a teacher is willing to commit to the garden. Weekly, monthly, or only at random as time allows.
- Will there be a garden coordinator who can assist the garden curriculum integration?
The strongest garden curriculum tie-in to classroom learning is science followed by ecology, nutrition, math, language arts, and art in no particular order. References for linking school gardens to CA standards are as follows:
- A Child’s Garden of Standards CA Dept of Education 2002
- CA Curriculum Guidelines for Agricultural Literacy
Other curriculum material can be found online or mail order through:
- CA Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom
- CA Dept of Education
- National Gardening Association
- Marin County Stormwater Prevention Program
- Earth Steward Gardener Curriculum
- Center for Ecoliteracy
- Garden of Learning
- Math in the Garden
- A Handful of Seeds – Seed-saving and seed study information – Grades K-6
- California School Garden Network – Elementary and Upper grades
- Closing the Loop – Grades K-6
- Instructional Activities for School Gardens
- Kids Cook Complete – Grades 2-7
- Nutrition to Grow On – Grades 4-6
- National Environmental Education Foundation – Grades k-12
- Setting up and Running A School Garden – Teaching Toolkit
- School Composting Manual
Click here to request a school garden consultation.
Contact: MMG School Gardeners