I offer a variety of school garden and outdoor classroom workshops that are customized for your school or organization’s objectives. If you don’t see a topic you are looking for, contact me to see what we can come up with together! Workshops listed below run from 2-5 hours each and are generally suitable for parents, public and independent elementary school teachers, pre-service teachers, educational assistants, school councillors and other district personnel. Workshops can be booked as a series. Click here to send a request for rates and availability.
Transition to teaching outdoors
These are strange and stressful days for educators heading back to school amidst a global pandemic. This webinar is offered to districts or schools looking for inspiration, practical ideas, and capacity building for their school community who wish to take the learning outdoors as much as possible. Specific tips, based on this blog post will be discussed, and the session or series can be customized to the unique specifications of your school community. How to teach without pencils and paper, effective assessment, and whole school strategic thinking for taking the learning outdoors will be offered.
Got Dirt? Why Kids and Gardens Grow So Well Together
Got dirt? In this workshop we will explore the science behind why kids and dirt grow so well together. Participants will discuss practical and easy ways to get kids playing and learning in garden spaces big or small. Leave with a clear understanding of why gardening with kids, of all ages, is critical to nurturing healthy bodies and minds. Leave with inspirational ideas you can implement right away, with suggestions for kid friendly plantings and meaningful play opportunities in your home or school garden. No gardening experience is required!
How To Start A School Garden
School gardens are fraught with systemic barriers that can take the joy out of outdoor learning. In this workshop we will explore practical and simple solutions for getting your school growing and learning outdoors. Step by step guidelines for success will be shared along with research to empower your process! From how to work with your district to have garden beds installed, to DIY solutions for growing with kids, and whole school strategies for growing as a team, this workshop will leave you inspired and motivated to begin teaching and learning outdoors.
School Gardening Basics
In this workshop teachers, educational assistants, school councillors and other district personnel are invited to broaden their understanding of how a school garden can be used like any other classroom. We will review the social, emotional, cognitive and physical benefits of having a school-yard garden, as well as outline the practical tips and tricks that make gardening with kids enjoyable for everyone. You do not have to be an experienced gardener to attend this session. Participants will leave with a cross-curricular understanding of how to start growing, playing and learning outdoors with the children in their care.
Outdoor Classroom Management
A common misconception, when taking students outdoors, is that they will be off task or challenging to manage. In this workshop we will consider how an outdoor classroom is just like any other classroom and completely different, at the same time! Learn how to connect with kids in a way that restores and protects relationships, while creating a joyful classroom culture of wonder and inquiry-inspired learning. Leave with practical skills, like entry and exit routines, as well as proven techniques and strategies for effective high yield routines in academic learning outdoors.
Growing and Learning in Your School Garden
In this workshop, teachers and school staff, who have existing school gardens, will explore the multitude of ways we can expand and deepen meaningful academic learning in the garden classroom. Cross-curricular examples of playful learning and inquiry will be shared, with reflections on how we can document and assess learning in a non-traditional classroom. We will also review practical school gardening tips to enhance your student engagement, like strategically planting crops for harvests during the school year, soil preparation, summer watering solutions, and pest management tips and tricks. Classroom management, holding space for an emergent curriculum in the outdoor classroom, as well as ideas for funding your school garden will all be shared.
Cross-Curricular Learning In Your School Garden/ Outdoor Classroom
In this workshop we will dig into the revised BC curriculum to explore the multiple opportunities for meaningful, hands on learning in your own school-yard. Participants will broaden their understanding of how to develop and support the big ideas, core and curricular competencies in a garden classroom. Specific examples of cross-curricular learning will be shared, along with inspiring stories of student engagement, diversity and inclusion. Just about anything can be taught in a garden… this workshop will explore how you can support happier, healthier and more motivating academic learning outdoors!
Play and Loose Parts In Your School Garden
Play isn’t just for primary! In this workshop, participants will be inspired by the use of loose parts for mathematical thinking, scientific inquiry and creative storytelling in the garden to engage learners from K-7 in meaningful, student directed inquiry. Learn more about the pedagogy of loose parts, practical tips for managing outdoor learning resources, risk management, and how an emergent curriculum supports flexible thinking and problem solving in the outdoor classroom.
Preparing Outdoor Spaces For Imaginative and Risky Play
In this workshop we will explore the research on why unstructured outdoor play is critical for developing children’s social, emotional and cognitive strengths. Leave with practical and inspiring ideas for preparing creative, imaginative and super fun spaces where children of all ages will engage in productive play for hours, no matter the weather! This session will focus on the concepts of “risky” or unstructured nature play in the school garden context, and prepare participants for assessing risks, hazards and benefits in their school garden.
The Garden Classroom
This full day workshop provides a clear plan forward for Westcoast school gardens. Practical tips and tricks are shared with inspirational stories of school garden transformations. You’ll leave with a comprehensive understanding of seasonal garden tasks. I’ll suggest a month by month planting and harvesting guide, and help co-create a seasonal map for what goes where in your school garden. Educators will also explore the multiple entry points in the BC curriculum for teaching in the garden classroom. Examples of how to teach to the big ideas, core and curricular competencies will be shared, along with meaningful ways to connect the garden to the First People’s Principles of Learning. Workshops held on location at your school will also include a walkshop and site specific consultation of your school garden’s next steps.
The Garden Classroom Series
This series is offered monthly to school districts or organizations who wish to host professional learning for teachers in garden-based education. Each session will unpack systemic barriers with practical and cost-effective solutions that are scaffolded for capacity building. Participants will develop a community of practice that meet once monthly in September, October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May and June. Each session will review timely month by month tasks in the garden, a new gardening skill, as well as reveal related curricular connections across the big ideas and core competencies. Hands on and experiential learning is emphasized, as well as sharing circles to grow our collective knowledge, a professional learning network, and place specific gardening skills. For the 2020/ 2021 school year, The Garden Classroom Series is being offered by:
- Van Dusen Gardens (call 604-718-5898 to register) FULL
- West Vancouver School District (contact Shannon Gray or Megan Gray to join)
In this transformative session we will explore the pedagogy of play and the global body of research that powerfully influences how decisions are made by adults supervising outdoor play. Learn how to harness the power of unstructured nature play to enhance children’s creativity, social, and emotional well-being. This session will emphasize the importance of place, with specific recommendations for how your particular setting can be used to meaningfully engage children in environmental and ecologically sustainable nature play, in all weather and seasons.
Bring your long range plans and your curiosity to this action packed workshop! Learn how the big ideas of our BC curriculum can be effectively explored outdoors in a meaningful context for scientific inquiry. Participants will be introduced to ways we can weave an emergent curriculum with existing lesson plans, for a magical learning experience. Hands-on learning will be emphasized, along with cross-curricular opportunities for deep understanding and connection to the natural world.
The outdoor classroom, school-yard, and garden are perfect spaces and places for inclusive and creative storytelling, vocabulary development, non-fiction writing, fine motor skill development and more! Participants will be introduced to multiple hands-on opportunities for a broad range of literacy skills in a highly engaging and motivating environment that supports reflective and diverse literacy skills across the curriculum.
Math is everywhere in the garden! Participants will be introduced to hands-on, interactive, and joyful ways of naturally engaging children in mathematical thinking in the garden. We’ll explore how wonder and curiosity can generate questions that guide real life problem solving. From seeing patterns in nature, to data collection of germination rates, this workshop will share motivating and accessible math strategies that leave everyone feeling successful.
Everyone can agree that having less mess at the end of an art lesson is a good thing, right?! Why not take your visual arts lessons outdoors? In this workshop we’ll explore how your school-yard can provide endless inspiration for creative and imaginative artistic representations that are eco-friendly and consume less ‘stuff’! Leave with inspiration for holiday, mother’s day and father’s day gift-giving ideas that won’t cost a fortune and are kind to the earth too!
I’m looking forward to growing and learning with you! For more information, contact me here.