School Garden Day 2016 will be on May 20 – just around the corner! As in previous years, the event is held by YOU in your school garden, and when you REGISTER your school and SHARE photos, we ALL get the benefit of knowing we’re not the only ones out there, loving the magic of school gardens, and building towards collective impact!
I recently attended a ministry of Education consultation, with Education Alliance for a Sustainable Ontario. We praised the ministry for their progressive new Policy Framework around Experiential Learning. This is a great frame for our work in the food- and environmental-literacy movement, such as that taking place in school gardens. (You can read my submission to the Ministry about our organization here.)
I’ll be back to you all about this year’s prizes and incentives to register. Meantime, enjoy the sunny spring-like weather we’re having in most of the province!
Belatedly I realized we hadn’t updated you on the lovely School Garden Day celebrations across Ontario. From Thunder Bay to Ottawa, Sarnia to Peterborough, and in the GTA, 36 schools registered or were included in school garden partner non-profits registrations. That’s up 38% from last year!
Our six winners of $75 gift certificates, thanks to a micro-grant from the Biodiversity Awareness and Education Network, were:
Winners were chosen by number of students participating in School Garden Day, represented as a percentage of the school population. So here’s a challenge – if you won a gift certificate, find another school to bring into our School Garden Day Celebration next year!
The first 20 teachers who registered for School Garden Day also received a cool package from USC Canada – a Bean Biodiversity Kit featuring 3 different heritage bean types grown by Ontario farmers. Recipients are urged to pay it forward, saving those seeds and passing them along, as farmers and gardeners have done for countless generations and will continue, as part of our human right to food and conviviality!
Bravo to all participants, and please share the message widely – garden-based learning is effective and fun, and every school should have a garden!
Sunday (for the IGES team)
Sue Luff, Co-Chair St. Brigid CSC, writes:
I would say we had a total of approx. 75 kids involved in our gardens the week of School Garden day!
We are still a work in progress as we have a second phase going in after summer. Our school is running an adopt a tree, shrub or plant program to help fund our large project.
Leila Mireskandari, Gardening Teacher and Director, Kids’ Growing City writes:
Please find pictures of students at Central Montessori School, Thornhill Campus attached.
Students harvested spinach that they had grown from seeds and offered it to school kitchen.
They kept one spinach plant to let it go to seed.
They then replanted the pot with a Cherry Tomato.
Leila Mireskandari, Gardening Teacher and Director, Kids’ Growing City writes:
Please find pictures of students at Central Montessori School, Maplehurst Campus attached.
SK students worked on parts of plants and planted Pumpkin seeds in cups.
Elementary students harvested spinach that they had grown from seeds and offered it to school kitchen.
Congratulations Yorkhill! Looks beautiful & fun. Butterflies and kids alike will enjoy these plantings.
Doris Behar writes:
This is what Yorkhill Elementary School did.
We made 2 planters outside the front doors of the school. We made an area for a butterfly garden and the kindergarten classes planted the plants. A parent is designing a self watering irrigation system for this garden.
Meghan Stock from Winchester Public School sends this:
We had great participation in our Garden Drum circle. All three kindergarten classes came out to the garden where we drummed and chanted for the better part of half an hour.
Thanks for this great initiative!
Well thank YOU Meghan, for the wonderful photos below.
Winchester Public School in Toronto is where I got bit by the school garden bug! So happy to see these and to have had today to hang with the Winchester crowd at their Fun Fair.
For the past 2 years, Imagine a Garden in Every School has celebrated School Garden Day on a Friday in May. This year, the date coincides with the World Biodiversity Day called by the United Nations, May 22.
We know that School Gardens represent Biodiversity by their very nature. Some grow food; some grow native wildflowers – but all engage children and youth with our real and changing world.
To highlight the convergence of food biodiversity in this year’s celebration, USC Canada has offered a free gift to the first 20 teachers/garden educators to register their school’s garden. All participants will receive a certificate. Here’s how to participate:
- First register your Ontario school garden at http://bit.ly/1FNsSl2to qualify for a prize from USC Canada – Biodiverse & Beautiful Beans!
- On Friday, May 22, hold an activity in or around/about your school garden. It can be simple or ambitious – it’s up to you! (Biodiversity!) Send pictures of your event to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. The TOP SIX schools with the most student engagement in the garden on that day (percentage of school population, provide pictures) will receive a $75 gift certificate for Home Hardware (or local garden supply outlet), courtesy of the Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network!
We’ll feature all pictures and school gardens on our blog as we receive them.
Thanks to our partners!
NOTE: If you had registered before, review your profile here and resubmit for 2015.
USC Seed Gift
Biodiversity Education and Action Network
www.biodiversityeducation.ca = http://bit.ly/1OZ7LlT
by Megan McDonald, pre-service teacher
School Garden Day is fast approaching! Only 1 more week! Unfortunately, that also means report card season is coming up, and now is the time to squeeze in those last bits of curriculum you still need to cover. It can definitely be a challenge finding room for everything in the curriculum and a school garden often feels like an extra, that you visit if you have time. However, there are plenty of ways to integrate the school garden across the curriculum! While planting is the most obvious way to participate in school garden day (and it fits quite nicely into the Understanding Life Systems strand of the science curriculum!), it certainly isn’t the only way.
Here are some other potential ideas:
- Write a descriptive paragraph about something in the garden
- Write a persuasive writing piece about why students should spend more time outside/why we should have a school garden
- Write a procedural writing piece about how to care for a garden
- Write a newspaper article about your school garden (or about school garden day?)
- Have your silent reading period in the garden
- Have your literature circle meetings in the garden
- Read a story about gardens/composting/animals in the garden
- Count the plants within your garden and create fractions, decimals, ratios based on the data collected
- Create graphs based on the plants found in your garden
- Conduct a survey among your class about the contents of your garden (Ex. What is your favourite plant in our garden? Do you like kale? etc.)
- Measure the heights of different plants. Visit again next week and see how much they have grown!
- Measure the beds in your garden and calculate the area/perimeter (and capacity if a raised bed!)
- Calculate the capacity of various planters and determine how much soil you will need to fill them. How much will this cost?
- Draw the garden (to scale) on grid paper
- Find different angles, 2D and 3D shapes in the garden
- Challenge students to create math problems for the strand you are working on based on the garden! Maybe some of these can show up on their next assessment!
- Create a soundscape in the garden
- Do a drum circle in the garden
- Sketch your favourite part of the garden
- Create a sculpture using items found in the garden
- Do improv in the garden (dramatic or musical!)
- Photography in the garden
- Create a site-specific dance that can only be performed in the garden
- Create a dance or series of tableaux that show the passing of the seasons in the garden/life cycle of plants
These are just some of my ideas (without even touching on the more grade-specific curricula of science and social studies). Please feel free to share your own ideas in the comments!