Green Schools Garden Gate

Raised bed gardens at Annour Islamic School
You can learn about worms and soil through school gardening! Centre Elementary School
It's fun to get your hands dirty in the garden! Kansas City Kansas Community College

 

 

 

Welcome to the

Kansas Green Schools Garden Gate!

More than 100 Kansas schools currently incorporate school gardens as part of their classrooms, and the number is growing! If you are considering adding your school to that number, or if you are looking for ideas and resources to support an existing garden, you've come to the right place.

 

What is a school garden?

A school garden is an outdoor classroom oasis, attracting countless organisms, each a rich opportunity to teach students about the complex and fascinating ecosystem that we are all a part of.  School gardens provide on-site "field trip" opportunities for students, even in the most resource-deficient schools.  School gardens may be as small as raised boxes on the asphalt play yard or planter boxes on a rooftop garden.  School gardens may be designed to help students learn about food and nutrition by planting edible crops, or lessons learned might focus on the local habitat by planting native plants.  The common denominator of all school gardens, however, is that various classes utilize them as outdoor classrooms.  The class may be planned as a standards-based lesson that charts the growth of recently planted fava bean plants and measures the change in growth over time.  Or more typically, the focus of the class might veer unexpectedly toward pollination, due to the unanticipated arrival of a hummingbird nectaring in the pineapple sage.  In both cases, school garden lessons are connected to education standards.

 

What are the benefits of school gardens?

 

The benefits of school gardens are many and the evidence has been corroborated by a diverse group of practitioners and researchers.  Numerous studies point to school gardens as a means of improving academic achievement, promoting healthy lifestyles, demonstrating the principles of stewardship, encouraging community and social development, and instilling a sense of place.

 

Benefits of School Gardens:

  • They enhance academic achievement
  • They promote healthy lifestyles
  • They instill an environmental stewardship ethic
  • They encourage community and social development
  • They instill a sense of place

 

Information from the above two sections is provided from the book How to Grow a School Garden, A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers - Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle.

 

What do school gardens look like?

School gardens all look different! There are no two school gardens alike as they are all unique creations. The key to any school garden is that it needs to fit the schools’ goals, ideas, and interests. It’s also very important to remember that you don’t have to start big. If you can that’s great, but if you need to start small and build from season to season or year to year that’s great too. Click here to view several different School Gardens from across Kansas and hear from their gardeners about how they got to where they are today!

 

Who could be involved in a school garden?

There are several different people who can be involved in a school garden. Everyone from teachers, students, principals, superintendents, parents, local businesses, interested community members, etc. may show interest in helping with a school garden. Involving students in all aspects of garden work is a wonderful way to enrich their cross-curricular learning and to help sustain the life of the garden.  


What resources are available for school gardens in Kansas? 

The Kansas School Gardens Initiative and Garden Gate are part of the Kansas Green Schools Program. If your school is not registered on the Kansas Green Schools Network, click here to sign up.  It's free, takes about five minutes, and you'll receive information about grant opportunities, workshops, conferences, and resources to help your school garden and other "green" projects.  As you register, please take a moment to tell us what you're doing at your school! 

For more information about the Kansas School Gardens Initiative, contact Ashlyn Kite-Hartwich.  For more information about the Kansas Green Schools Program, contact Rachel Wahle.

This project is supported in part by the USDA Specialty Crop Grant Program, through a sub-grant from the Kansas Department of Agriculture, and by an Annie's Grant for Gardens.