The Garden Classroom 2023/ 2024

Hello classroom gardeners! Thank you for joining us as we kick off another year of garden learning together. You’ll receive a reminder (and a session link) each month from Van Dusen, so watch for that to access the series going forward.

Session One: September 6, 2023

Big thanks to everyone who joined us on the first week back at school! If you couldn’t join us live, you can watch the recording here. You’ll need the password provided in your email from Van Dusen. During our September session, several resources and links were mentioned. You will find them listed below:

Blog posts you may find helpful:

Transition to teaching outdoors

Teaching prep outdoors

What to wear teaching outdoors

School garden weed resources

Playful Literacy Outdoors

Keynote from Outdoor Learning Conference

Grants for School Gardens

Resources from our first session:

C2C October 20 Conference- Register Here!

Invasive species council of BC

Westcoast seeds donation request link

Environmental Educators Provincial Specialist Association (EEPSA)

Outdoor Learning Store (purchase field guides and kits for looking closely in the garden here)

Our next session is scheduled for October 11 with Rachel Tidd. Everyone who attends live will be entered in the draw for a $25 gift card from the Outdoor Learning Store!

Session Two: October 11, 2023

Wowza! What a great session we had with Rachel Tidd. You do NOT want to miss this one. If you couldn’t join us live, be sure to watch the recording here. During our session many resources were shared. You can find them listed below:

Blog Posts:

Outdoor learning gear recommendations for kids

Seed Inquiry

Seed Art

How seeds travel

How to plant broad beans with kids

How to plant garlic with kids

How to grow pumpkins with kids

Pumpkin math

Pumpkin books

Pumpkin experiments

School garden soil resources


Rachel’s WILD LEARNING website

Rachel’s Instagram

Rachel also shared this roots & shoots activity, which pairs well with this book: Tops & Bottoms Book

After digging up the plant, lay it down and measure its total length from root to shoot. Then measure just the root and just the shoot (green part above the soil). Record your measurements in your math journal. What fraction of the total plant is the root, and what fraction of the total plant is the shoot? 

Which part has the largest fraction of the plant, the root or the shoot? 

• Compare your findings with other plants. What do you notice? 

• Why do you think some plants have bigger shoots? What about roots? 

• What could be the advantages of having big roots? What about big shoots? 

• If you were a plant, what would you look like? Record the answers and sketches of your roots and shoots! 

Soil Thermometer

Balance Scale

Outdoor numbers

Wooden counting pegs and numbers

Waterproof garden marker (for writing on stones)

Soil Kit from the Outdoor Learning Store

Patterns in Nature Kit from the Outdoor Learning Store

If you want to learn more about Patterns in Nature, watch this recording with kit creator, Janice Novakowski

Session Three: November 8, 2023

This month we welcomed back the always amazing Laura Jackman, who brilliantly shared how she weaves intergenerational place-making into her school garden and wetland. If you missed tonight’s session you’ll absolutely want to watch the recording. It can be viewed here with the password provided in your email from Van Dusen. Resources and blog posts related to tonight’s conversation (lots of discussion around mud and rain play!) are listed below:

Blog Posts

Teaching Prep Outdoors

Butterfly Gardens

Mud Kitchens

Rainy Day Books

Rainy Day Play

Remembrance Day Poppy Seeds Project

Resource Links

WestCoast Seeds Donation request

Tiny Perfect Things (Book for exploring)

A Seed is Sleepy (Book for learning about seeds and how they travel)

Everybody Needs a Rock (Book for considering relationships with the more-then-human)

13 Moons on Turtle’s Back (Book for organizing seasonal evidence of learning)

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (Book for introducing digging with shovels)

Carl and the Meaning of Life (Book for considering the purpose of worms)

What Does Peace Feel Like? (Book for Remembrance day for young children)

Gear Wash for re-waterproofing

Learning in Places Project

Next month we meet on December 6. Our guest will be Samantha Gambling from the Coalition for Healthy School Food. See you soon! Everyone who attends live will be entered in the draw for a $25 gift card from the Outdoor Learning Store!

Session Four: December 6, 2023

This month we were thrilled to welcome Samantha Gambling from the Coalition of Healthy School Food. We had a rich conversation about food literacy and food justice and school food advocacy! If you missed this session you can watch it here. Use the password provided in your email from Van Dusen to access.

Blog Posts you might find helpful:

Seed Mandala Art Project

Fairy Nature Wings

Garden Playdough

Garden Stepping Stones

Ice Art

Nature Selfies

Anywhere Artist

Resources shared by Sam Gambling tonight:

The Coalition for Healthy School Food

Lunch Lab video

Farm to School Approach to School Food

Roots to Harvest Program

Nourish Cowichan

Teach food first resource 

New Westminster School District Fuel Up Lunch Program

Prince Edward Island School Food Program

Japan’s School Food Program

1) This 9 minute video from Cafeteria Culture

2) this webinar on Japan’s school food program as part of an international series by Dr. Rachel Engler Stringer, University of Saskatchewan

France’s school food program

1) A clip from Michael Moore’s “where to invade next”

2) a webinar on France’s school food program as part of Dr. Engler-Stringer’s international school lunch series.

A link for Feeding Futures FAQ

BC Ministry of Education “Build a School Food Program” website

Session Five: January 10, 2024

This month we were thrilled to have Farm to School BC regional manager Marcus Lobb join us to share all the resources available for teachers! If you missed this month’s session you can watch it here.

Blog Posts you might find helpful:

Ice Art Ideas

Winter Gardening with Kids

Resources mentioned tonight:

Whose Garden Is it? An anchor text for tracking snow prints in the garden

Farm to School BC website

Find your regional animator here

Farm to School Grants

Hands on Food Lessons

Healthy Schools BC

Learning From the Land Toolkit

Crop Planting Cards and Resources

Don’t forget to join us at our next session on February 7 to learn more invasive species! Watch for the link from Van Dusen!

Session Six: February 8, 2024

This month we were so glad to have the most dynamic duo from The Invasive Species Council of BC join us! Stephanie and Jen prepared a brilliant presentation with engaging and FREE resources for teachers! If you missed this session, you really want to watch the recording here. If you have any questions for our presenters, you can email them here: [email protected]

Stephanie and Jen shared the following for participants:

Let’s Be PlantWise! Resources to Inspire Learners and Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species

Most Important!

ISCBC Resource and Links

  • Invasive Species Council of British Columbia website; go to the Follow Us tab for social media links.
  • ISCBC YouTube channel for webinars, “How to” series, and more! Go to the Playlists Tab and check out the Invasive-Wise Education Playlist. 
  • Games and Activities for activity booklets, colouring sheets, and online games. 
  • eLearning courses – Learn more about many topics and receive a certificate. Short courses, most of which are free. 
  • Take Action!

Connect with your Region

HCTF Education (Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation)

Get Crafty with Weed Pulls

** make sure all invasive plant material goes in the garbage

Our next session is March 6! We look forward to learning more about resources with The Water Rangers!

Session Seven: March 6, 2024

This month we were inspired by Praise Osifo from Water Rangers! If you missed this session, you’ll want to catch up with all her enthusiasm here!

Blog posts that might be helpful from this session:

How to make a paper pot

Water Cycle Inquiry

Garden planning with kids

Tomatosphere project

How to plant peas with kids

School garden grants

Resources mentioned in this session:

Water Rangers Mini Lessons (no kits required)

Blue Schools Canada

Grant and funding for Water Rangers

Oceans Week Canada

Next month we are thrilled to have Dr. Gillian Judson join us to discuss the role of imagination in our garden classrooms! See you April 10!

Session Eight: April 10, 2024

If you haven’t heard Dr. Gillian Judson speak about the role of imagination in education, you will really want to catch this recording! So many key ideas and connections to our work as Classroom Gardeners.

Resources and Links from this session:

Gillian’s Twitter profile

Cultivating Imagination website

imaginED website

Walking Forward: Learning from Place

Hear from other imaginative EcoEducators

Sign up for the Virtual Free April 30 workshop on the Early Years Walking Curriculum here

Blog posts from this session:

How to grow Rhubarb in a school garden

How to build a bug hotel

How to grow potatoes in a school garden

How to grow Kale in school gardens

Resources available from the Outdoor Learning Store:

The Walking Curriculum

The Walking Curriculum for Early Learners

Soil Inquiry Kit

You can watch a FREE recording of the Walking Curriculum for the Early Years here:

Our next session will be on May 15th. Watch for the link from Van Dusen!

Session Nine: May 15, 2024

Our guest speaker tonight was unable to join us, so we had a lovely catch up and answered all sorts of gardening questions! If you missed the session, you can view the recording of May tasks here.

Resources from tonight’s session

WestCoast Seeds donation request

How to grow potatoes

The TomatoSphere project

How to grow pumpkins

Our next session is June 5th! See you soon.

Session Ten: June 5, 2024

And that’s a wrap on the series! Thank you to everyone who joined us this year and the over 500 teachers who have participated in this class over the past ten years. It’s been wonderful seeing your school gardens grow and to see the innovative and thoughtful ways you have taken the learning this series offered to support relational and responsive learning in your schools. If you missed our last session you can watch it here. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to me here.

See you outside!




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