The Classroom Gardener

The Classroom Gardener supports teachers and students with a meaningful cross-curricular, place-based, on-site school garden learning experience.

Full Program

The Classroom Gardener is British Columbia’s only on-site school garden program developed specifically to support teachers. We work with school communities who wish to explore how the big ideas, core and curricular competencies are meaningfully woven into a cross-curricular garden-based pedagogy. We support school communities as they build up their garden areas to be used as outdoor classrooms with an emphasis on place-based learning and playful inquiry. Our full program is designed to support a gradual release of responsibility so your students and staff feel competent and capable teaching across the curriculum in your school garden.

Schools may choose to sign up for the entire program, request content specific professional learning, or site-specific garden coaching. Contact us here for more information or to book a consultation. 


Who Can Participate?

We provide on-site school garden programming for students of all ages in public, private, and home learning spaces within Vancouver’s lower mainland. Schools, preschools, childcare centres, and homeschoolers outside of this area can still contact us for professional development bookings, to purchase educator resource kits, or request virtual coaching.

Why Garden With Kids At School?

The research is overwhelmingly clear that learning out-of-doors provides a valuable context for academic, social and emotional skill development.

  • Learning in natural environments encourages imaginative and flexible thinking, which has been correlated with efficient problem solving later in life.
  • Learning out of doors has been associated with improved outcomes in all academic areas, specifically expressive language, math reasoning, and scientific understanding.
  • Children who learn out of doors are more able to focus on non-preferred tasks and see improvements in their ability to problem solve.
  • There is a high correlation between outdoor learning and reduced anxiety and depression in children.
  • Learning outdoors improves overall health.
  • Learning outdoors increases opportunities for positive social interaction, communication skills, group cohesion and teamwork.
  • Learning out of doors develops positive relationships between teachers and children, that can then vastly improve a child’s school experience.
  • Learning outdoors reduces exposure and transmission of communicable diseases.

What Will It Cost?

In order to build capacity within a school, and to shift whole system thinking toward using the school garden as a shared learning space, we prefer to work with an entire school community, rather than one or two classes. Our full year program is best suited for multi-class participation. The approximate cost is $1000 per division (or approx $50/student) for the 10 month program. If this exceeds your budget capacity, please call us to discuss pricing, funding options, and grant suggestions. Many schools partially pay for this program from monies fundraised by their Parent Advisory Committee, and then charge an “in school” field trip fee to cover the rest of the cost. In most cases, costs to students for the year long program are less than a one day field trip to any educational venue in the lower mainland. There are many, many, grants and community partner sponsorships available to schools that support this program. Please do not hesitate to call because of cost! We can help you find funding for this program. Read more about available BC school garden grants here.

Your Fees Include:

  • Site visit and garden preparation by professional organic gardeners.
  • Crop mapping and succession planning by professional organic gardeners.
  • Priority registration in The Garden Classroom series hosted by Van Dusen Gardens and facilitated by Megan Zeni.
  • Place based, informative, and hands-on monthly garden learning for students led by professional organic gardeners. Number of monthly visits to be determined at your initial consultation.
  • A curated collection of school garden teacher resources. This can include anchor texts, lesson plans or loose parts for supporting rich story telling in your school garden. Exact needs to be determined at your initial consultation.
  • One class set of children’s gardening gloves, tools, and all necessary consumable garden supplies that remain the property of the school.
  • A pair of garden gloves for each participating teacher that remain the property of the teacher.
  • Monthly summer follow up maintenance in July and August, so your garden is good to grow in September.
  • Sustainable harvesting instruction and techniques.

Full Funding is available for a limited number of lower mainland schools who might not otherwise have access to this learning. Please contact us here to discuss your particular school community and eligibility for funding. We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

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