We noticed you haven't updated your profile picture recently. We've upgraded your profile to allow for richer hi-resolution images. We invite you to take a moment to upload a new image that represents you in the community!
Gardening at school with young children
Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:30 PM
Some of us are struggling to keep a school garden from perishing over the summer, others are planning for gardening with a new class in the fall. Gail Laubenthal, retired teacher (43 years), writes about her extensive school gardening experience on The Early Years blog. Gail currently serves as an Educational Consultant, mentoring Early Childhood teachers in Austin ISD and Grand Prairie ISD. She is also a frequent workshop presenter at NSTA, NAEYC, TAEYC, and other state and local conferences and district events.
One of my preschools has moved to a new location and I'm wondering if I should start a small garden right away, or wait until spring when things have settled down a bit.
5610 Activity Points
Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:55 PM
I think that either idea would be a great experience for the students. When I was in elementary school, I never had the opportunity to have a class garden and so it is one thing that I want to implement as I first year teacher!!
2320 Activity Points
Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:22 PM
I think starting a small garden with a few plants or vegetables would be a great start. I am very much interested in starting a garden with the group of students I work with, but I too am having a hard time determining when the best time of year would be!
2515 Activity Points
Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:59 AM
This will be a great idea to do during the spring time, and maybe even finding out if the school has an area where students could plant seeds and record their observations in a journal.
4465 Activity Points
Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:34 PM
It really depends on where you live. In a temperate climate, I would say start the garden as soon as possible! Students love being able to have a thriving garden throughout the year!
1000 Activity Points
Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:20 PM
Does anyone have thoughts on worm farms? Topic is similar to gardening.
2795 Activity Points
Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:12 PM
Gardening is a great activity to do with your students. I definitely urge you to get a garden started with your students. I had a teacher in elementary school that had our class create a garden and it was one of the best experiences I had. It did way more than just teach me about nature, it instilled in me responsibility and confidence. I am not the right person to tell you at what point in the year to create your classroom garden, but I do encourage you to do so!
1175 Activity Points
Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:17 PM
It is such an amazing experience for students to be able to take part in a garden! I did a service project with my preschoolers while I was in high school and it involved creating a garden. The preschoolers were a part of the entire process. They dug, planted, watered, everything! It became a part of their daily routine, to have 2 children each day water the garden. They grew things such as strawberries and tomatoes, which they were able to eat, and they were a huge hit! I think that you should begin your garden right away as opposed to waiting. That way, it becomes a part of the students' day and routine. Thanks for sharing!
1215 Activity Points
Tue May 03, 2016 8:13 PM
I think it would be greate idea to start as soon as possible so that students can witness the life cycle of the plants that you and your class plant throughout the school year and to also make hypothesis on how certain plants react to certain climates. Overall it would be a great activity to do with your class and the garden could be used for many lessons throughout the year.
30 Activity Points
Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:40 PM
I think a garden is a great idea! I love hands on activities that the students can participate in and learn from! When I begin teaching I hope to have a small garden outside or potted plants inside the classroom for my students to learn from. They can make observations and see what they learn from the book come to life!
190 Activity Points
Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:45 PM
I work at a preschool in Fayetteville, Arkansas we started a school garden at the beginning of March last year so students could experience the more optimal conditions for our garden to grow, and then watch it throughout the summer. I'd suggest starting in the Spring!
190 Activity Points
Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:20 PM
I think either option would do well, depending on the weather in your particular location. I love the idea of having a school garden for kids to be involved with.
How do you decide what to plant or how large of a garden your students can support?
180 Activity Points
Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:13 PM
I would start a garden as soon as school starts. It gives you an opportunity to show students how gardens grow year round. As there are different seasons in which each type of plant thrives a teacher could show students how to create and maintain a garden. I love the idea of getting students involved in gardening. It is a great way to have students in a great hands-on experience.
905 Activity Points
Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:22 PM
I find that having a school garden is important for students to help them learn about the life cycles of plants and the processes of life, death and growth. I never had the opportunity to have a garden in elementary school and I feel that I would have gained a better understanding of plants at an earlier age. I think you should start the garden right away even if you live in a colder place. You will be able to show the students the complete cycle of life, growth and death if you live in a colder place. I think it would be a very fun and interactive way to start off the year with your students.
5605 Activity Points
Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:37 PM
I think it would better if you just wait until spring, because you will have your classroom set.
805 Activity Points
Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:12 PM
Gardening would be a great way for the students to be engaged and learn about plants. I think starting with an small garden inside the classroom be a good idea that way students can see the plants grow everyday without having to go outside. It also may be beneficial because the weather may be warmer inside than outside, so the indoor plants may survive longer. This is a wonderful idea and I will definitely use this in my classroom!
705 Activity Points
Mon May 08, 2017 2:39 AM
I think you should start a garden right away to get the kids being hand-on's. I truly love your idea of planting a garden because when I was younger I didn't have the opportunity to do so. I actually may consider planting a garden when I become a teacher.
6145 Activity Points
Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:15 PM
The sooner the better so the students will see the life cycle of the plant. A garden is such an awesome learning experience for the students as well as responsibility to take care of it. Good luck! We love our garden and outdoor classroom.
1893 Activity Points
Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:02 PM
How about starting a smaller container garden this fall to get them interested and then in the spring they might want to plant more seeds and/or plants, especially spring flowers and veggies they can eat.
I always like to plant Violas (also called Johnny-Jump-Ups) in the fall/winter garden, as they grow all winter. The flowers can be picked and added to a spring salad. My students loved these pretty little flowers, and they ate more salad when they were added! These flowers are also great for pressing and used when making handmade greeting cards. If you make recycled paper, you can also add the flowers to the sheet of new paper before pressing the water out.
210 Activity Points
Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:45 PM
I think at this point I want to try some gardening with my students on a very basic level...and your idea is the best place to start. We are spending a lot of time doing Georgia ecosystems. This will help my student who get SpEd conceptually understand when we are speaking of plant and such in each region, I think.
All the best,
19130 Activity Points
Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:17 PM
Loving this idea! I definitely have been considering the idea of living plants in my (future) classroom but worried that I would forget about them and let them die. Having the students involved in the process would be killing two birds with one stone--lovely plants and plenty of potential science lessons (photosynthesis, reproductive systems of plants, how plants grow in certain conditions/seasons) all in one.
180 Activity Points
Sat Nov 05, 2016 1:10 AM
I like your idea of starting small to get the students interested. This would be more beneficial to you and the students because you will know if they will take the responsibility of caring for it. Thank you.
1230 Activity Points
Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:43 PM
Oh, good ideas! I do like pansies and jump-ups for their durability and beauty. A container is the way to go until we map the hours of sun and see which classes want to participate in the long run.
I've always wanted to run an Early Sprouts approach program but haven't had the space or assistance to garden.
Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:50 AM
Whatever you decide to do, please keep us all posted by replying here. I am getting ready to move closer to family members who garden. I plan to learn from them how to do it, then transfer the skills and knowledge to the school nearest my new home for the benefit of the students. I'd like to use what you have learned during your start-up to help me along the way!
All the best,
19130 Activity Points
Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:51 PM
Back when I was in elementary school, we had a "Butterfly Garden," and each grade was responsible for a specific section. If the children are young, I would start with something small like a few basic plants or shrubs. I really enjoyed the school garden we had, and would suggest planting it in the Spring rather than the Fall because of the heat index.
4725 Activity Points
Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:55 PM
Steve Rich has developed some amazing resources to support Outdoor Science including lot of work around butterflies.Birds, Bugs, and Butterflies: Science Lessons for Your Outdoor Classroom
You could think about NGSS and butterflies at the same time. You could be working to help students achieve "Make observations (firsthand or from media) to collect data that can be used to make comparisons."
There are many more resources around the topic "butterflies" in the Learning Center.If you need help finding them call an online advisor to help.
33310 Activity Points
Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:31 PM
Thus far we planned to map the sunlight, to find out where the sunlight falls during the day so we can pick the best location for a small raised garden bed. I do hope we can have plants that will attract butterflies--both larval and adult butterfly food. I hope to plant some of the brassica family, probably collards, to attract the Cabbage white butterflies to lay eggs.
5610 Activity Points
Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:36 AM
Sounds like a great plan of action. You're planting the seeds for further garden lessons in the spring (pun intended). Keeping the school garden going throughout the summer and planting things kids could experience the entire life cycle of was always a challenge for me too! I never balanced it quite right. Our preschool teacher did a great job with her students. They planted potatoes and popcorn each spring and then the new class would harvest in the fall. She also kept her gardening/healthy eating program alive throughout the snowy winter by incorporating specific produce into her baking lessons each week. i.e. beet cake, zucchini muffins, avocado pudding, etc.
1530 Activity Points
Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:28 PM
I love the Learning Center--resources and the forums! Here's a bit more for anyone investigating butterfly gardens, a link to my post on The Early Years blog about the previous gardens I was able to use with children.
Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:27 AM
I was wondering which would be more beneficial as well. Thank you for the reply. I like the idea of a smaller garden for the fall and gardening in the spring
1215 Activity Points
Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:29 PM
I also like the idea of a smaller garden in the fall to get the children interested while you wait for the spring. By the time spring comes around, you will have some professional gardeners! Good luck!
2655 Activity Points
Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:27 PM
This is a great idea! I was briefly reading through the posts and I wanted to share some gardening information with you! If you look up A Garden Story you can read about how having a garden made an impact on children's lives.
4755 Activity Points
Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:10 PM
This is great! I love the idea of having a garden for the classroom.
4285 Activity Points
Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:22 AM
Life intervened so I'm not setting up a garden...yet. We did plant 60 spring-flowering bulbs that we'll probably "share" with the squirrels. We planted tulips because they are non-poisonous, although daffodils are my first choice since they are not as attractive to squirrels. None of my students are likely to take a bite of a bulb when I'm not looking but many adults are sharing the planting experience so I chose a bulb I didn't have to worry about. Daffodils are not deadly poisonous but can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:02 PM
If you ever do a fall garden, winter greens like collards are a great way to go. They grow well in the fall and early winter and are a great way to get those kids interested in eating their leafy greens!
900 Activity Points
Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:43 PM
I think having a garden for young students at school is a great idea for getting them involve with some science. Since, I haven't really seen any science really being done in younger grade levels I think the idea of a garden could be one that is not too difficult to accomplish.
1545 Activity Points
Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:36 PM
Adriana, I hope you get a look at the NSTA position statement on Early Childhood Science Education to see what young children are capable of.
I write about my own teaching experiences in PreK-grade 2, and research of others in The Early Years blog and The Early Years columns in Science and Children (search for "ashbrook" in Advanced Search).
I agree that young children can learn much about the nature of science and science concepts through gardening.
5610 Activity Points
Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:12 PM
How about starting a compost pile that you can maintain until the planting season? When it is time to break ground on whatever you decide to do, you can amend the soil! Much can be learned from this process. I also liked someone's previous post about planting bulbs this fall and enjoying some spring color!
1530 Activity Points
Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:31 PM
The compost pile you mention- would it be outside?
I heard that flies and other pests like to be near compost piles. I have no experience with them (yet), but should we plan to compost outside?
All the best-
Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:24 AM
I would like to mention that if the gardening project becomes a collaborative initiative among all the teachers, or a few, it will be easier to keep up. Watering is key, especially in Florida. Each teacher took turns watering everyday and it's best to do it after school. When it was time to harvest the vegetables, the school cafeteria made a salad and the children were able to taste it! I hope to learn a lot from your experiences and I thank you in advance for sharing your tips and suggestion.
2460 Activity Points
Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:56 PM
I think it is a great idea to consider splitting the care, as well as the benefits, of a classroom garden. This is definitely something that a grade level team of teachers could organize effectively. A possible plan might be to assign each teacher a week of care. I think if I had a group of teachers that were willing to split some of the care, I would be more inclined to create a classroom garden.
670 Activity Points
Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:17 PM
I love that you suggested to get other teachers involved. This will be a great experience for their students as well!
265 Activity Points
Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:39 AM
I liked reading all of your thoughts about having a garden in the classroom. Great ideas.
1845 Activity Points
Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:07 AM
Carina, what are your experiences and thoughts on gardening with children?
Hearing what others have done or are doing helps me make decisions in my program.
Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:37 PM
Thanks for suggesting collards, Sheila. I agree that they are wonderful plants for growing over the winter in many areas. I wrote an Early Years column in the April 2007 issue about using collards to attract Cabbage White butterflies so children can observe the caterpillars. It's free to all.
Do you have any suggestions for how children like eating greens best? Recipes?
Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:54 PM
My crew loves kale. While they will eat it raw, they prefer it cooked. One way is sauté until just wilted; we usually serve this with sautéed sweet potato chunks (small cube) and rice. My class also like to make "kale chips" by spreading out washed/dried kaleon a sheet trayand drizzle with a little oil. Bake about 15 minutes in a moderately fast oven. When the kale is just brottle, it is done
120 Activity Points
Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:55 PM
I like the ideas that were proposed and think these ideas will be successful!
1630 Activity Points
Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:18 PM
I love the idea of starting a garden with your little ones. What would you do with the produce? Or would you only attempt flowers.
1255 Activity Points
Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:34 PM
At previous locations we've planted sugar snap peas which bear fruit by June in our region so the children just pick and eat! Other plants we've had are parsley and fennel (caution-this plant may self-seed and become invasive) to attract Black Swallowtail butterflies to lay their eggs on these plants, and collards to attract Cabbage white butterflies for the same reason. I've seen children enjoying the "cherry" size tomatoes and they love to dig and eat potatoes.
Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:53 PM
I think a garden is such a wonderful learning experience for all students. It takes alot of work to maintain it as well. A school I have visited has a garden space but no garden. The students tell me about how they made soup with the veggies they grew so it did leave an impact on their lives.
1150 Activity Points
Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:36 AM
This a great idea! The science lab teacher has an extensive garden that she cultivates with the students year-round. Some students even sign up to come tend to it with her and other volunteers on Saturdays during the summer. Students begin participating in the gardening process in Kindergarten, by the time they leave in 5th grade they have experience growing through different seasons, and rainy/dry weather and various crops.
1215 Activity Points
Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:46 AM
I love the idea of having a classroom garden. I think it fosters an atmosphere of community. At my school we do a garden every semester and plant vegetables that will grow in those seasons.
1615 Activity Points
Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:43 PM
i love that idea students can watch their little plants grow. if lasts years is still n tact you can show the students how much its grown i love it! i wan tot do one too now!
1660 Activity Points
Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:41 PM
So here I am again, approaching fall without a school garden! The ideas of starting small with a container garden worked well for us--lettuce and snap peas. I think I will follow up on the idea of having children plant collards and other greens in September and see what can winter over.
Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:44 PM
Creating a garden with your students at school is such a great learning opportunity for them. This was always one of my favorite activities when I was in school! I do believe it would be easiest to do a smaller garden in containers due to the weather. It would be a fun way for them to compare different plants and/or vegetables!
370 Activity Points
Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:51 PM
Start a garden! It teaches children at a young age group so much! They can get involved with the planting and you can even make a quiz of what each elements are used for such as the soil, the water, the seeds, the sun, etc. The perk of the garden is, it even makes the outdoors of your school look even prettier!
280 Activity Points
Tue Sep 08, 2015 12:17 AM
I like the idea of starting seeds inside to transfer in the springtime. I always thought if would be really fun to use the fall and winter to do lessons focused on the planning and placement of the garden. Students could create drawings of what the garden should look like and where it should be placed. There are also many great lessons that can be done regarding food and how it relates to geography, history, and commerce. You can then talk about the science end as well and the concerns of what would grow in the area of the country you are located due to weather, climate etc. I imagine by the time spring came you would have a class of proficient gardeners both ready and excited for success. I just joined NSTA and already am learning great things I hope I can one day start a community garden as I am still a student myself for now.
565 Activity Points
Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:31 PM
If you do not have the space for a decent sized garden, you can always have each child plant grass in a plastic cup. This way the student gets the ability to control every part of the process. They can watch the grass that they planted grow and know that they put in the work. All you need is soil, plastic cups, and grass seed. You can do this during the spring and set the cups near the window. Have the kids practice taking care of plants and let them water their own cup of grass.
210 Activity Points
Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:51 PM
I love this idea, Abbigayle, and have done it before--thanks for reminding me! If the children use misters or droppers to water the plants they can usually water for a long time without over watering the cup.
See a photo example at:
Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:55 PM
Many more gardening resources at USDA: http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/resource-library/school-and...-resources
Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:11 AM
School gardening is a wonderful idea! Students would be very excited!
1465 Activity Points
Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:46 PM
I love the idea of a butterfly garden! I think this would be great for fourth grade since they study molecules and organisms. I think this would show them growth between plants and animals and how they interact. Fun idea!
475 Activity Points
Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:33 PM
Starting a garden will be a great idea! I remember when I was younger my elementary school had a garden. Having a garden is always a fun and learning experience for the students. If weather is an issue you can always have students plant something small in the classroom. For instance, having each student plant a bean plant on a pot inside of class. Then placing the plants near a window where sunlight can hit the plant.
1185 Activity Points
Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:12 PM
Hi Marisol! I really like this idea since we are in december! looking forward in doing it in the future!
900 Activity Points
Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:10 PM
I would do it! kids would love it!
900 Activity Points
Sat Dec 05, 2015 4:17 PM
I truly believe in giving students the opportunity to teach life science through garden related lessons, and I also understand how difficult these might be to maintain during the summer months, when students and teachers are not around to water. However, children can learn to make self-watering pots using a wicking system or a slow drip to help water the plants. Fortunately, in South Florida, during the summer it rains sufficiently to sustain the moisture of the plants so we may not have to worry about part during our summers.
I have included some links that will help create both irrigation systems out of recycled materials.
3620 Activity Points
Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:54 PM
My school currently has a garden in honor of a student that passed away a couple years ago. The students love to volunteer in the garden during their lunch. The garden means something to all of the students since it was created in the honor of one of their peers. This is a great way to build community within the school. Throughout the year they have a group of parent volunteers that help keep the garden alive. The summer months are hard since no one is around, but the school makes an effort to do what they can to keep up the garden in memory of the student.
470 Activity Points
Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:10 PM
I recently joined a Facebook group for those who garden with children. It is just getting started, but I think will be a great resource. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like an invite to the group.
Sarah Benton Feitlinger
1530 Activity Points
Mon Dec 07, 2015 5:58 PM
Depending on your area I don’t think you have to wait until school to start a garden. It can benefit the students to see what can be grown in certain weather conditions and what cannot. However I think reading on how to preserve gardens can be a great help in making them last in all kinds of conditions.
510 Activity Points
Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:11 PM
I think either way would be a good idea. You can wait until things settle down a bit, but you should be fine either way. When I was in elementary we didn't have a garden, but I think it's a good way to teach students about eating healthy and show them how to grow plants. I know whatever you decide, the students will be excited about growing a garden.
495 Activity Points
Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:46 PM
I think waiting for spring could be more useful for harvest and specially since the first season of the garden will not yield lots of successful growing vegetation. As for the continuous care for the garden over the summer, I remember as a student the summer child care program and summer school students were in charge of up keeping the garden. There was also many trained staff at the school that had experience in gardening and shared knowledge or helped directly in keeping up with the garden. I hope you are able to find resources in the community to also help you.
1260 Activity Points
Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:08 PM
I think either way would be great! If you decided to start now as opposed to waiting for springtime, there are many flowers, fruits, and vegetables that can be planted now. I never had a garden while in elementary school, but I did have one in high school and loved it! I found myself wanting to garden at home as well in my spare time. Gardening is a great and interactive way to learn about the earth and nutrition as well. The elementary school I am currently placed at has a garden and students love visiting it in their spare time!
970 Activity Points
Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:33 AM
My school is year round, so having a garden parish over the summer is not an issue for us. Having the garden be not just school but also community driven is a good way to keep it live and healthy. Ever think of having volunteers care for it? Children feel proud of parents that participate in school activities, and they are great help.
435 Activity Points
Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:45 PM
I live in Alaska and we have cold and snow most of the year. This public community has encouraged me to try a small garden this spring. Kale grows really well up here and I think is a great place to teach students how easy it is to start an easy garden. I might even talk to them about how to build a box to hold the plants in. Thanks for all the great ideas!
1260 Activity Points
Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:46 PM
Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:17 PM
I think this is a fun and interactive way to teach children how to be self sustaining.
540 Activity Points
Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:29 PM
What a neat idea! A garden is a perfect way for students to learn about so many different things. I had friends who had a garden growing up and I always thought that was so neat. To actually be able to plant seeds, water, and patiently wait for Mother Nature to work her magic. I believe little minds will love having this experience. If I lived in a state where it were much easier to grow things, I would definitely have a garden outside. Living in Arizona makes it very difficult to grow much of anything because of the intense heat.
I hope your garden turned out perfect!!
1575 Activity Points
Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:12 PM
Assuming the garden would be outside, I would think at time as well. There are particular plants that withstand cold weather well. For extra protection, especially during the cold times, fencing with plastic can be placed around the garden or certain parts. Either way, I think it is a great idea and would get students intrigued and excited even more to attend school to see the progress.
965 Activity Points
Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:23 PM
Hello I have been teaching Elementary Special Education class for 3 years now. This year I am at a new school and I wanted to start a class garden as well. I was going to start in the Fall but I had a new baby and just could not get it together; so I have decided to start mine now. Being that I work with Pre-K - Head Start, I have found a way to use the garden to teach my students math, science, literacy, and social studies with this activity. We are going to grow tomatoes. To keep my garden "up to part" over the summer, I'm going to get some youth from my church to help me maintain the garden. If the school permits, I am going to invite my students' parents to summer their child and have an onsite field trip
1020 Activity Points
Wed Feb 17, 2016 4:57 PM
I think it's best to wait and allow the students to start it with you at the beginning without it being set up or ready, so they can see how the garden started and how it will end by the time they leave your class. Like a before and after, also using pictures as examples.
1075 Activity Points
Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:45 AM
I am doing Bachelor studies in Garden and Landscape Architecture and I am working with AssignmentDone.co.uk - help with college assignment uk. I want to share my opinion regarding gardening that first of all create a plan by starting with easy plants to gain some knowledge and take care them.
10 Activity Points
Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:08 AM
I am planning a lesson for Kindergarten students about observing and recording the growth of plants. Does anyone have any suggestions for an opening activity or attention grabber to get them excited about this? Thanks!
360 Activity Points
Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:30 PM
Planting a garden with my student's sounds like an amazing learning opportunity. I am going to try this out.
875 Activity Points
Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:39 AM
Hi! I love this idea- I think you should start in the fall so that students can see the plants grow over a period of time. A classmate of mine planted vegetable seeds in a cotton ball in a ziplock baggie and taped it to the window; its now grown alot and its only been a month!
835 Activity Points
Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:51 PM
This was the most memorable activity I did when I was a 1st grade student! It amazed me and opened my eyes to how seeds grow!
455 Activity Points
Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:00 PM
Thank you everyone – keep the ideas coming! Gardening will be in annual project and science experience for the children I teach so we will probably try new things each year. Here are the peas that we started earlier this spring.
Sugar_snap_peas.jpg (0.76 Mb)
Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:38 PM
Having a class or school garden is a great idea! There is one at my school now and all of the students love it. Keeping it up in the summer does not often happen because in the beginning of the year, students love the task of working hard to get it where it was at the end of the previous school year.
900 Activity Points
Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:52 PM
Gardening is a fun way to engage students in school and also give them a sense of responsibility and pride in their work. In my school, we have a gardening club that meets once a week. In the beginning of the year, we had few plants and most of what we had were weeds. I am so happy that now, with the help of the kids from gardening club, we have 3 beautiful gardens and are planning to build another section for next year! My students are so excited about their garden, it has been great for us!
975 Activity Points
Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:43 AM
Gardening in schools is a great idea it is a great way for students to get involved. The students can also explore healthy food options and how growing their gardens is better for the community.
615 Activity Points
Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:57 PM
Hi! I feel like having a garden in your classroom would be a great idea especially if you have the room and resources from your school to do it. We have a garden not in our classroom but as a school and the students love it. The students and teachers help to take care of the garden during after school. This is a great way for students to learn how to take care of the environment and learn about science.
695 Activity Points
Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:33 AM
Starting a small garden is a great idea! Thank you for posting the link to Gail’s extensive school gardening experience. I hope to make a small garden with my students my first year of teaching.
775 Activity Points
Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:50 PM
I think starting a class garden is a great and fun idea. I remember when I was younger how we had to try and grow a bean inside a plastic bag and I enjoyed it. I would have loved to be able to grow them in the garden.
Cindy Guia Gumandoy
665 Activity Points
Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:08 PM
Our school has a garden that the kids love to explore in! I would love to make our own garden, but I am so awful with plants the idea intimidates me! I think picking plants that grow easily would have to be a must.
580 Activity Points
Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:09 PM
I love the idea of starting a classroom garden. It makes learning very engaging and enjoyable for the students. It shows the students responsibility as well as learning about the different parts of plants. Another great idea would be to take a field trip to a nursery or garden center.
730 Activity Points
Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:14 AM
I am a student at Florida International University and I have been learning about different science activities do to with children using outdoor resources!
I love the Idea of making a small garden with my students some day, and I think that any time of the year would work, even if it is just a small garden :) I have never seen a teacher grow a garden with her students, so if you have any tips or tricks to share I would LOVE to hear them!
285 Activity Points
Sat Apr 16, 2016 12:51 PM
I think gardening with young students is an excellent idea. Having them outside presents so many teaching opportunities. They can learn about insects, plants, the water cycle...the possibilities are endless when children are outside. Actually one of the schools I have worked with had a butterfly garden that the Pre-K and Kindergarten students worked on planting together and their teachers created very interesting lessons for the garden!
2180 Activity Points
Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:12 PM
Garden? Yes! The school I did my field hours at had just started building one, and it's becoming the new science project for middle school and elementary! They are all involved in planting vegetables and flowers, not to mention that they are recording observations during the process. I think it's a excellent idea to engage children on this. It promotes environmental awareness as well as inquiry learning.
555 Activity Points
Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:25 AM
I currently started working with my two year olds and the garden, I love it! children learn so much through hands on experiences! I would have to agree that either ideas are great idea! We started our garden this spring and we will continue taking care of it through summer. Love the idea!
465 Activity Points
Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:36 AM
When I did field work at a school I was amazed to see how much garden space was around. Students are constantly planting at the school. I think it is a good idea because it teaches the students about plants, and that it is good to grow natural plants.
240 Activity Points
Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:40 AM
Funny enough at my current field school they have a huge field thats not being used for anything and their garden is tiny, they say they are and environmental school but I would expect a lot more than just a small garden, just a thought. Gardening is my therapy.
Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:15 AM
Gardening is a great for students! It doesn't only teach them about nature, and helps you create hands on activities, but it also teaches them responsibility. they will learn how to keep plants or flowers alive and they must remember to give it water and sunlight. I think it'd be great to create a garden with your students if you're able to!
435 Activity Points
Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:41 AM
In the kindergarten classes I've been in, the teachers always try to make their science lessons into a catchy song or a fun dance. I don't know if this may help but it's an idea. Memorial Day weekend 2016
20 Activity Points
Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:27 AM
When I was in grade school, I always wanted my teachers to have us participate in a garden, yet none did.
Starting a garden is brilliant as it allows for outdoor activity and education in biology, ecology, and sustainability. Even if it is merely exposure to plants, it will lay the seed for something great! (As I study plants now, I reflect back on my botanical exposure and appreciate everything that made plants fun.)
Anyway to make science fun and exciting is a plus. Lastly, in my experience with youth in gardens, it is good to have a ~5:1 student to teacher/supervisor ratio, for children tend to mess around a bit much.
45 Activity Points
Mon May 02, 2016 11:44 PM
I love this idea and believe it would be a great learning experience for students in the classroom. I never had the chance to have a garden when I was in school, but the students at a school I did my hours at did, and they thoroughly enjoyed it. I would definitely implement this as a teacher.
3730 Activity Points
Sat May 07, 2016 6:48 AM
Here's an update to my original question. We still are gardening in two large pots. We have been successful with spinach and kale that was planted in the fall and survived our mid-Atlantic winter with little-to-no care, and a crop of snow peas planted early this spring. Knowing that I'm only at the school two days a week and others did not want to do garden care, I didn't establish a larger garden. But another teacher got the bug and had two 4'x4' raised beds built by families to plant herbs and flowers. I'm very happy to see this growth!
Snow_peas_in_large_pot_garden.jpg (3.42 Mb)
Snow_pea_close_up.jpg (1.67 Mb)
Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:53 PM
I am so inspired by this thread. I am a teaching student (not pre-service yet) and I have to design a green school project-based learning unit. Based on your experience, do you think this would qualify as both green school and project-based?
Were your students excited about the garden project? How old are your students?
Was your school supportive of the idea of starting a garden?
You mentioned that none of the other teachers wanted to participate. Did you find that that discouraged student participation at all?
Thanks for any feedback!
965 Activity Points
Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:38 PM
I think starting a small garden with your classroom could be very beneficial. Not only can they learn about the ecosystem, but they also are learning valuable life lessons. The students can learn how to grow and tend to their own food, which also develops a sense of independence with the students. They are also learning responsibility in the fact they are now in charge of caring for something that left unattended, may die. It is also just overall a very fun activity that provides yet another opportunity for hands on learning, which the majority of students today respond positively to.
70 Activity Points
Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:00 AM
I love the idea of a garden to teach children about science. One of the things that I will never forget about my science class in elementary school was when we learned about metamorphosis with a real life caterpillar in our classroom. Every day I would stare at it waiting for it to become a butterfly. The day that it became a butterfly our teacher took us outside so we could let it free. It was an experience I would never forget. This is the type of experiences I would like to give my students one day.
Maryan Loaiza Betancourt
7530 Activity Points
Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:11 AM
I would definitely start a garden as soon as possible that way students are able to see the progression of the garden in the spring.
1050 Activity Points
Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:55 AM
I think it'd be a good idea to wait a little bit so the students aren't overwhelmed with everything going on, but I think it'd be a good idea to start it early in the year. There's so many things you can teach them through the use of the garden (Ex. what plants need to grow, how photosynthesis works, etc.) and it could also be a classroom bonding experience!
190 Activity Points
Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:01 AM
I love having a class or school garden! I definitely think that you should keep a garden going with your students whenever your weather permits. One way you could go about this is by starting your plants at a local greenhouse during the winter (if possible) which could lead to a very cool field trip! Start your garden in containers therefore during the summer you would be able to take those plants home with you so you can keep them going. Another way to go about having a garden during the beginning of the school year would be to start a garden that would have a fall harvest. Hope these are ideas that could help!
1005 Activity Points
Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:12 PM
I love science
595 Activity Points
Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:14 PM
I think that gardening with young children is a great idea. It gives them a sense of responsibility, but it also allows them to learn based on their own curiosities. If students are curious about how much a plant goes every day, that student can measure the growth each day. Each student is able to create their own learning experience.
450 Activity Points
Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:27 PM
I think it would be a great idea to start a garden! If you are worried about starting a full garden too soon, you could always start with an indoor window herb garden.
815 Activity Points
Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:05 AM
This is a wonderful discussion. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get funding through grant or private sources to launch a student garden?
850 Activity Points
Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:01 PM
I think having a garden apart of the classroom is a fantastic idea. It is a great way to make science more interactive. The students really enjoy working inside a garden from what I have seen at my placements. They become very excited about their plants growing which teachers could use as great lesson for the class. The garden could also be something that every teacher is apart of. Therefore, when they return the following year they are still able to check up on their plant(s).
1035 Activity Points
Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:07 PM
I like your class garden idea. I wish there was a section I could get for my class so they could plant a garden. It would be such an engaging way to teach growth and the life cycle and could even branch out into Social Studies and English if incorporated correctly. Did your school have that as an activity or did you have to ask permission to start one?
Grace Ann Burr
855 Activity Points
Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:55 PM
I really love the idea of planting a school garden, especially because of all of the potential it has for teaching life science with a hands on approach. I think that the students will be able to retain information best if they are able to see it occurring in real life. Though I know it may be difficult to keep it up in the summer, I think it would be a good idea for the school to hold a summer science camp for students to tend to the garden and learn about botanical processes. This could not only provide a fun way to learn over the summer and keep the garden intact, but it can also help students to stay in an academic mindset during those months away from school and keep exercising that scientific information they obtained during the school year.
350 Activity Points
Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:03 PM
Get started as soon as possible! Even if you plant a few bushes! Anything that allows the students to go outside and make observations themselves. It doesn't have to be something pretty or something huge. They would also be able to observe the plants dying if that occurs! Go for it! You can always plant new ones in the spring!
2395 Activity Points
Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:48 AM
It really depends on where you live. In a temperate climate, I would say start the garden as soon as possible! Students love being able to have a thriving garden throughout the year! buy assignment
10 Activity Points
Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:58 PM
From earlier post: They planted potatoes and popcorn each spring and then the new class would harvest in the fall. She also kept her gardening/healthy eating program alive throughout the snowy winter by incorporating specific produce into her baking lessons each week. i.e. beet cake, zucchini muffins, avocado pudding, etc.
What a creative idea!! And what a fun way to create a link between years!!
965 Activity Points
Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:57 AM
You should start right away. There are some bulbs that should be planted in the fall. These type of bulbs should be planted as soon as the ground is cool. This will give the students the opportunity to see their progress when the weather breaks in the spring. It will allow for discussions throughout the winter. Students will have a chance to make predictions and observations over a period of time.
1025 Activity Points
Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:59 PM
The school that I do my student teaching they offer an area to let students to do gardening. I saw so many students had so much fun over there!
895 Activity Points
Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:23 PM
Start whenever is convenient to teach the children the effects of seasons and weather changes on plant growth!
1730 Activity Points
Sun Nov 13, 2016 9:40 PM
I think having a small school garden will definitely be a great idea for students to learn and relate! Some students might have a garden at home so they might be able to make connections and learn about the importance of sunlight and watering the plants.
890 Activity Points
Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:51 PM
I really like the idea of having a class garden. I'm sure children love having something to care for - it teaches them how to be responsible!
I think that you should consider implementing a new class garden as soon as the new school year starts.
880 Activity Points
Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:18 PM
I think a garden is a great opportunity for students to learn through experiences. It makes science hands on for the students and allows them to make real life connections. I think that you should start the garden right away, but I think you should have the students help you with the garden. Students will take pride in their work and will remember planting all different kinds of plants. They will love to watch them grow and it would be a great experience for them to see how things grow and what they need in order to grow.
1195 Activity Points
Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:19 PM
I think that you should start a garden right away! It does not have to be large or sophisticated, just plant a couple vegetables and herbs this fall. The garden has the same educational effect whether it is large or small! It is great to have a large garden so that students are able to observe the differences in how the plants are growing and making inferences about why these differences are occurring; however, it is not necessary. I don't think that the kids should miss out on this awesome opportunity! My suggestions would be to have the students help you construct a very small garden, and plant seeds of vegetables/plants/herbs that they are interested in. Even if the plants don't do well, the kids will still be practicing their observation skills and "being a scientist"!
1500 Activity Points
Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:47 PM
I believe gardening is a great way to teach students so many important lessons. Besides the obvious scientific lessons a garden lends itself to, it is also a great way to teach students about responsibility and caring for things. Growing up, my elementary school had a courtyard that contained a large garden that a new classroom would tend to each week. The fruits and vegetables were seasonal and would often change and it is still one of my most vivid memories from elementary school!
835 Activity Points
Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:40 PM
I never had one at my school growing up, but the school that I observed at last semester has a pretty extensive one. The students loved going outside to help work in it. They liked to look at all the different plants and helping them grown, but their favorite part was waiting for the butterflies that lived in the nature center/garden come out of their cocoons.
870 Activity Points
Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:59 AM
I think you should start it right away with the season plants. It can be an ongoing process.
1655 Activity Points
Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:02 PM
-In regards to Tyler's post about worm farms, while I think this is a great idea, it may scare away some students and teaches a different topic all together. Some students may be grossed out by the sight of worms, making plants a lot less scary! Also, if we are trying to teach process like growth or photosynthesis, for example, we won't be able to show these with the use of worm farms.
765 Activity Points
Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:11 AM
Worms are great animals for giving children the opportunity to learn gentleness with unfamiliar animals. I've learned that children must carefully rinse all soap from their hands to avoid hurting the worm's sensitive skin. Children should wash with soap and water after handling any animal.
650 Activity Points
Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:32 AM
I use rubber models (toys) of worms to assess children's ability to hold them without "breaking" them. This practice ahead of time helps children be more comfortable and more gentle.
Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:05 PM
I think having a garden right away would be a great idea, this way the students can get a sense of what seasons crop grows best.
860 Activity Points
Fri Dec 09, 2016 6:52 PM
I think it would be great to start the garden right away because the students get a chance to see how the plants are affected by the weather and season throughout the year.
855 Activity Points
Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:07 AM
It is a little difficult for some children to see frost kill the little plants that are just starting to grow. Preparing the soil and planting bulbs can make springtime exciting for planting seeds.
Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:02 PM
Staring a garden sounds like a fantastic idea for a great hands on activity. It could also work as a year long project that can exite students and want them to learn more about how and why plants do this.
705 Activity Points
Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:08 PM
I tried it in a summer camp, that was very cool, as the kids had their duties, they kept on asking lots of what, how, and why-questions. They observed the planting and participated themselves, watered every day and then saw the flowers growing. They also changed their attitude to nature. they stopped breaking branches and tearing flowers
1065 Activity Points
Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:33 PM
I believe gardening is excellent for students of all ages as it is a process where they get to see how their hard work indicates progression with each day that passes. They witness life being created in front of them and although some of them may not totally grasp the extensive weight of that concept they can use all of their senses to fulfill instinctive desires that technology would not be able to replicate. I would consider gardening a vocational necessity that needs to be implemented. Many of us were fortunate enough if we had someone in our lives to show us basic survival knowledge at an early age, but a lot of guardians need to work hard to provide food and roof over the family's heads so we as a society need to come together and help raise the future leaders. I am a firm believer in the saying that it takes a village to raise a family.
Michael Van Ossenbruggen
480 Activity Points
Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:03 AM
It is tricky that the peak growing season is during the summer break. Radishes grow quickly, but they are strong flavored for young children.
650 Activity Points
Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:46 PM
I would ask and add the upcoming class of students with involvement and sign up to come check the garden over the summer. I think that would be a great idea for the students to feel already a part of the next year and exciting to work with the older kids. I love the idea about using rubber worms before hand to get the students use to the concept of being gentle.
685 Activity Points
Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:45 PM
I've gardened with my preschoolers in several states. I have had luck adding herbs to the usual food mix (I like potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers) Herbs also usually survive the occasional flower picking better.
My current school is considered to be in a high desert climate, which adds another layer of challenge. In addition to what each class plants, we have peach trees and currant bushes that do well here. My crew lived off of peaches last summer and were excited to see the first buds appearing yesterday!
120 Activity Points
Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:36 PM
I totally agree with you. I believe that a garden should be planted with the students as soon as the school starts. Just like you said gardening offers hands-on, experiential learning opportunities in a wide array of disciplines, including the natural and social sciences, math, language arts (e.g., through garden journaling), visual arts (e.g., through garden design and decoration), and nutrition.
775 Activity Points
Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:52 AM
I think starting a classroom garden would be a great activity to do while students are learning about the needs of plants.
755 Activity Points
Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:19 PM
This all sounds wonderful!
510 Activity Points
Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:55 PM
I love the idea of doing a class garden with the students! I had done a planting exercise with my students and they really enjoyed it, so I think they would really enjoy an ongoing project with plants.
570 Activity Points
Sun May 07, 2017 10:15 PM
I think it is a great idea to start a garden with students. The earlier the better. Visit a gardening store near you and see what plants or flowers they recommend during fall weather. It will be exciting for students to see their very own plants grow.
670 Activity Points
Sun May 07, 2017 10:23 PM
This is so unbelievably beneficial. Especially to students in low income areas. Have you ever seen the video of Jamie Oliver asking kids what different vegetables are? They have no idea! It is very sad. Having a school garden helps students learn responsibility, science, and delayed gratification. It also helps them to understand where food comes from and the nutrition behind fresh fruits and vegetables.
790 Activity Points
Wed May 24, 2017 6:30 PM
With the knowledge that our young early childhood learners have an instinctual curiosity about the world around them, I would suggest
starting with a walk around the school yard to discover all the natural vegetation. Then begin your garden with a seed in a plastic bag to
observe germination and transplant it to a small pot. Children enjoy observing the mysterious growth of a plant from a seed !
30 Activity Points
Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:33 PM
I have inherited a wonderful garden space that had been neglected for a couple of years. We have got it back in a good enough shape that will allow me to take the children out to enjoy nature. I really want to "dig-in" and add more lessons, raised beds, plants, etc. As I am sure you know, that will take some funding. So, I am requesting ideas/thoughts on fun, creative ways to generate money. Thanks, Karla
260 Activity Points
Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:57 PM
GrowingMinds.org has an easy 6 steps to getting a garden started indoors. I love that they feel it's about the magic of growing, rather than what is produced. Check out their website Gardening Indoors.
920 Activity Points
Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers