The Classroom Gardener supports teachers and students with a meaningful cross-curricular, place-based, on-site school garden learning experience.
The Classroom Gardener is British Columbia’s only school gardening program developed to meet the big ideas, core and curricular competencies of the revised curriculum! We support school communities to develop their very own school garden as an outdoor classroom with an emphasis on place-based learning and playful inquiry.
Schools may choose to sign up for the entire program, request professional learning, or site-specific garden coaching. Contact us here for more information.
Who Can Participate?
We provide on-site, in-garden, programming for students of all ages in public, private and home learning spaces within Vancouver’s lower mainland. Schools outside of this area can still contact us for professional development bookings.
- Preschools and daycare centres are eligible for our professional development series and on site coaching within the Lower Mainland.
- K-7 schools within the Lower Mainland are eligible for our comprehensive year-long Classroom Gardener programming.
- K-7 schools outside of the Lower Mainland are eligible for the professional development series and can purchase the teacher’s guides.
- Grades 8-12 are eligible for the professional development series and on-site coaching, within the Lower Mainland.
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.
How Will The Classroom Gardener Help Me Teach The Curriculum?
When your school enrols in The Classroom Gardener’s year long program, we’ll provide all the K-7 resources, materials, lesson plans, workshops and follow-up activities for you to use with your classes (that teach to the big ideas, core and curricular competencies of the B.C. redesigned curriculum). We know the barriers to effective school-yard gardening and have worked through the challenges to provide you with the most comprehensive cross-curricular program available. The Classroom Gardener was written with the redesigned curriculum in mind, so you can be sure your students are covering content every time they step out into your outdoor classroom and garden! Our lessons are easy to use, and provide a meaningful context for integrating the First People’s Principles of Learning into your classroom culture.
What Will It Cost?
In order to build capacity within a school, and to shift staff thinking towards 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 aprox $50/student) for the 14 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 complete 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.
Your Fees Include:
- Two super motivating half days (or after school sessions) of professional development for teachers, by an experienced professional and practicing teacher.
- Place based, informative, and hands-on monthly garden learning for students led by professional organic gardeners.
- A teacher’s guide for each participating classroom teacher with engaging follow-up lesson plans, links to online resources, and video content for classroom use.
- All required classroom resources to teach the provided lesson plans, including a big bundle of recommended picture books and loose parts for creative play in your garden!
- Site visit and garden preparation by professional organic gardeners.
- Crop mapping and succession planning by professional organic gardeners.
- All required children’s gardening gloves, tools and garden supplies. (Plus a pair of garden gloves for each participating teacher!)
- Monthly summer follow up maintenance, so your garden is good to grow in September!
- Harvesting assistance and guidance on organizing a harvest celebration.