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The School Garden Curriculum (PDF)
An Integrated K-8 Guide for Discovering Science, Ecology, and Whole-Systems Thinking
The world needs young people to grow into strong, scientifically literate environmental stewards. Learning gardens are great places to build this knowledge, yet until now there has been a lack of a multi-grade curriculum for school-wide teaching aimed at fostering a connection with the Earth.
The School Garden Curriculum offers a unique and comprehensive framework, enabling students to grow their knowledge throughout the school year and build on it from kindergarten to eighth grade. From seasonal garden activities to inquiry projects and science-skill building, children will develop organic gardening solutions, a positive land ethic, systems thinking, and instincts for ecological stewardship.
The book offers:
- A complete K-8 school-wide framework
- Over 200 engaging, weekly lesson plans – ready to share
- Place-based activities, immersive learning, and hands-on activities
- Integration of science, critical thinking, permaculture, and life skills
- Links to Next Generation Science Standards
- Further resources and information sources.
A model and guide for all educators, The School Garden Curriculum is the complete package for any school wishing to use ecosystem perspectives, science, and permaculture to connect children to positive land ethics, personal responsibility, and wonder, while building vital lifelong skills.
Download The School Garden Curriculum worksheets here.
Kaci Rae Christopher is the volunteer Farm and Garden Educator for Oregon's Redband Ranch. She was previously the School Garden Coordinator for the Springwater Environmental Sciences School and the Outdoor Educator for ERA. Her passion is fostering a healthy land ethic, personal empowerment, and environmental literacy in children of all ages through outdoor immersion and skill building. She lives in Bend, Oregon.
"The School Garden Curriculum addresses something near and dear to my heart and probably the most critical issue in society today — the need for garden, food and ecology education for school-age children. This book will help transform society with each new generation. Well done."
Zach Loeks, author, The Permaculture Market Garden
"Not just for teachers, this hands-on, down in the dirt, fun, imaginative and eminently practical guide should be in the hands of anyone involved with kids and gardening. The author's depth of teaching experience shows in her well-thought-out lessons and projects suitable for each age group. This is a wonderful resource for introducing children to science as they discover ecological principles for themselves along with the rewards of gardening."
Linda Gilkeson, author, Backyard Bounty
"Early and regular interaction with nature is critical to healthy childhood development. With half of all people living in urban environments, school gardens offer one of the best opportunities for children to connect with the earth. Kaci Rae Christopher's School Garden Curriculum shows us how to make the most of lessons of ecology and gardening, to provide an intimate experience with nature and skills that will last a lifetime."
Darrell Frey, author, Bioshelter Market Garden, co-author of Food Forest Handbook
"Ever been enthusiastic about a school garden project only to come up against typical pitfalls — summer maintenance, how beds are allocated, it's one more chore, etc.? This book to the rescue! Simple, well-thought out solutions to better school yard gardening have arrived. Not only will you build soil, grow edibles and learn how to forage, be prepared for a healthy harvest of community building, rituals, empathy, and gratitude."
Lindsay Coulter, David Suzuki's Queen of Green
"A school garden makes the perfect outdoor classroom. As learners step off the edge of chemistry into the new lands of biology, new experiences evoke paradigm shifts and epiphanies. Life begins to write itself! For all the talk of teaching methods, learning styles, and motivational techniques, the best teachers simply point the student toward an edge. No better place to do that than in the garden. The School Garden Curriculum shows you how."
John Wages, Publisher, Permaculture Design magazine
"The school gardening movement has long been a laboratory of educational innovation. By fusing permaculture with science, Kaci Rae Christopher takes it one step further in effectively promoting systems thinking and garden ethics. Her teacher-friendly new book offers hundreds of lessons for fall, winter and spring that can be accomplished within a single class at each grade level from K-8. Highly recommended."
Tim Grant, editor emeritus, Green Teacher magazine
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