Questions to Ask When Starting a School Garden.
Why should I take the class time, and make the effort, to use a school garden as part of my curriculum?
- Teachers and students alike know that learning is improved when students participate in their own learning as opposed to
being passive recipients.
- By actively "doing," investigating, and inquiring, students can begin to construct an authentic understanding of the
world around them.
- Gardens, schoolyard habitats, and plants in the classroom become living laboratories in which state standards can be
- Children can grasp how living things adapt to their environments in a garden.
- Garden planning and design requires mathematical problem solving and practice. The connections are endless, and the
rewards can be also.
If you're planning a school garden for the first time, there are a number
of questions to consider.
- About the plan...
- What are your goals in starting a school or class garden?
- How do you plan to use the garden as an instructional tool?
- Do you have support from the administration and custodian?
- What kinds of tools and supplies will you need?
- How much will it cost and how can you find funds and materials?
- How can you ensure maintenance of the garden during the summer?
- About the potential site...
- Is it well drained?
- Is it easily accessible and protected from vandalism?
- Does it have full sunlight for at least six hours a day?
- Is it reasonably level?
- Does it have access to water?
- How healthy is the soil? Do you have at least 6 to 12 inches of topsoil?
- What needs to be done to prepare or enhance the soil?
- About cultivating support...
- Can you ask parents to donate materials, help prepare the site, work with students, or provide support through
- Are there local farmers or gardeners who might help prepare the site (e.g., provide plowing, manure, or lime)?
- Are there local garden clubs, senior centers, master gardeners, or high school groups who might be willing to
work with students in the garden?
- Are there nursery or local business people who might be willing to "adopt" your program and/or donate gardening
tools and supplies, materials for building raised beds, and so on?
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