NCEF Resource List: School Gardens
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Information on creating school gardens for outdoor learning, compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.

References to Books and Other Media

School Garden Checklist
(Let's Move, May 2012)
Step-by-step guide, which offers important information about how to safely grow fruits and vegetables with students. Discusses site selection, soil health, designing for students, plant palette. Includes resources. 2p

Developing Great Schoolyards - A Handbook for Elementary Schools. Adobe PDF
(The 21st Century School Fund, Washington, D.C. and the Prince Charitable Trusts, Oct 2011)
Handbook explores outdoor spaces such as small athletic fields, vegetable gardens, and playgrounds that provide opportunities for physical challenges, exercise, sensory and fantasy play, organized sports and upsupervised free play. Features the District of Columbia public elementary schoolyards. Explains the qualities communities and parents should look for in schoolyards. Includes an assessment tool to rate your elementary schoolyard, and advice on how to plan and develop a quality schoolyard. 31p

Flowers, Plants, and Gardening: For Kids!
(, 2011)
Compilation of great sources of information for children on plants, botany, gardening, horticulture, hydroponics, and much more. [Recommended by Ms. McKnight's class in Delaware.]

Roots and Research in Urban School Gardens
Gaylie, Veronica
(Peter Lang , 2011)
Explores the history of school gardens and shows the value of these small urban plots to educators, students, and the communities served by these gardening projects. Highlights small gardens by region, recounting the history of each garden project, student experiences there, and the pedagogical practice each site employed. Includes case studies from California, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada's West Coast. In each region, the author sets the specific cultural context for the gardens she describes. Identifies the need for school gardens by addressing increasing social concerns like food shortage, a disconnect between children and the earth, critical-thinking skills, ecological awareness, and environmental disarray in urban areas. 195p

School Greenhouse Guide
(National Gardening Association, Nov 2010)
This online guide to school greenhouses is a basic overview of key issues relevant to educators planning to run—or currently running—a school greenhouse program. It covers both operational and horticultural topics. Includes information on different styles of greenhouses, solar vs. supplemental heat, figuring costs, selecting a location, glazing, environmental controls, light, air/soil, cooling, venting, and heating.

Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation.
Danks, Sharon
(New Village Press , Nov 2010)
Guidebook for designing and building natural schoolyard environments that enhance childhood learning and play experiences while providing connection with the natural world. Intended for parents, teachers, school administrators, designers, environmentalists, and community volunteers. Explores the ways in which landscape design, architecture, child development, and nutrition converge in the schoolyard. Profusely illustrated. 288p.

Realistic Contributions for Improving the Physical School Environment.
Albert, Lauren
(California State University, Chico , 2010)
Identifies improvements to schools' culture, through various projects enhancing the physical aesthetics of the school. The premise of the project is based on findings from a survey, which was directed at the aspects of the schools' physical environment that caused increases in students' learning. This project provides a handbook of realistic resources for improving a school's physical environment. The handbook outlines four project ideas to be completed by the school community for minimal costs. The four project ideas are 1) School Murals, 2) School Garden, 3) Paint with School Colors Benches, Doors, etc., and 4) Plant Trees with Identification Tags. The projects are organized with step-by-step instructions for ease of completion. Additionally, the handbook provides resource ideas for funding. Creating an enriching physical school environment has been shown to improve students' attitudes toward learning, thus positively influencing test scores. This handbook is intended to improve the grounds and facilities of a school with the end result being a more motivated school community. [author's abstract] 144p.

How to Grow a School Garden.
Bucklin-Sporer, Arden; Pringle, Rachel
(Timber Press, Portland, OR , 2010)
Advises teachers and parents on creating school gardens. Site design and funding are discussed, as is incorporating the garden into the curriculum. Lesson plans, plant selection information, horticultural technique, and recipes are also detailed. 224p.

School Gardens.
(Library of Congress, Feb 2009)
Constance Carter, head of the Science Reference Section at the Library of Congress, describes the history of the school garden in America and offers reasons why school gardens are making a comeback. (17 minutes)

Getting Started: A Guide for Creating School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms Adobe PDF
(The Center for Ecoliteracy Press, 2009)
This is a step-by-step guide for creating a healthy, productive garden that serves as an educational environment for students. It discusses planning the garden, breaking ground, maintaining the garden, and managing the garden. 52p.

School Garden Brings Learning to Life.
(Peak Moment , Sep 2008)
Teachers show their elementary school garden bearing many fruits. It's an important part of the curriculum: children make mason bee boxes, grow colonial medicinal plants, learn of other cultures, and put science to work. It builds community: parents work together, students form a bucket brigade to transport wood chips. It's a site for celebrations like a pumpkin harvest or a play. (27 minutes)

Student Gardens and Food Service. Adobe PDF
(Bon Appetit Management Company, Palo Alto, CA , 2008)
Advises on how to incorporate student gardens into the school food service. Sections of the document describe planning the garden, growing the produce, promotion within the school, social "bonding" over the garden, and improvement of the garden. A planning worksheets, sample invoice, and list of resources is included. 31p.

The Edible Schoolyard: Seed-to-Table Learning.
(George Lucas Foundation, San Rafael, CA, 2008)
This video profiles the "Edible Schoolyard," located on the campus of Martin Luther King Junior Middle School in Berkeley, California. This 1-acre urban garden and fully equipped kitchen are the home to a thoughtful, curriculum-based program designed to connect students with the earth, the environment, and an eclectic group of adults outside the traditional classroom. During kitchen classes students learn to prepare healthy foods using herbs and produce grown in the Edible Schoolyard. Educators involved in the Edible Schoolyard describe the program as a "seed-to-table" experience, referring to students' involvement in everything from preparing the soil and planting, tending, and harvesting crops to preparing meals using organically grown, in-season produce.

How to Start a Garden in a Local School.
(National Gardening Association, South Burlington, VT, 2007)
This explains how to start with an indoor school garden, form a garden committee, make a plan, find a site, and develop community support.

The Growing Classroom. Garden-Based Science. [Revised edition]
Jaffe, Roberta; Appel, Gary
(Life Lab Science Program, 2007)
Teacher's manual featuring step-by-step instructions and strategies for setting up outdoor classroom activities and a garden-based science program. Topics include working together in the garden, growing, nutrients, garden ecology, climate, nutrition, gardening tips, food choices, and gardening tips. 496p.

How to Choose Plants Kids Will Love to Grow in Their Classroom Project.
Nicholson, Casey
(, Seattle, WA , 2007)
Advises on plant selection for school gardens, addressing herbs, flowers, leafy plants, fruits, and vegetables. 2p.

Designing Outdoor Environments for Children: Landscaping School Yards, Gardens and Playgrounds.
Tai, Lolly
(McGraw-Hill Professional, 2006)
Details the history, design process, installation, and maintenance of sustainable children's landscapes and play yards. Numerous case studies cover projects including storybook courtyards, music and barnyard gardens, nature trails, wildlife habitats, memorial, and edible gardens. 380p.

Chicago School Garden Initiative. A Collaborative Model for Developing School Gardens That Work.
Johnson, Katherine A.; Bjornson, Marti Ross
(Chicago Botanic Garden, Center for Teaching and Learning, 2003)
This best practices manual tells the story of Chicago's successful School Garden Initiative (SGI), which worked on a districtwide basis to create and use school gardens as a setting for active discovery. The manual explains how this model can be applied to other localities nationwide. 71p.

Schoolyard Mosaics: Designing Gardens and Habitats
Pranis, Eve and Gifford, Amy
(National Gardening Association, South Burlington, VT, 2002)
The book offers advice on involving students in the planning and design process, building community support, and integrating the project with curriculum and learning goals. Includes 11 garden plans — from butterfly oases to history gardens — with companion stories on each project, suggestions for implementing a variety of thematic gardens, and an extensive resource section. 56p.

School Gardens: Raising Environmental Awareness in Children. Adobe PDF
Brynjegard, Shira
This paper explores the reasons for gardens and natural spaces on school campuses and the effects that such exposure to the natural world has on the students. Blending case studies, observational data, and personal experience, the paper discusses the impacts a garden has on the students who participate in it. During the evolution from rough landscape drawing to fully functioning educational environment, the balance of administrative, teacher, parent, and student involvement is used to determine the lasting effects the garden has on student attitudes toward environmental concerns. Elements of what makes a garden particularly effective at bridging the gap between the children and nature is highlighted and evidence of increased environmental awareness in the students is discussed. (Contains 17 references.) 30p.

Developing an Earth-bound Culture Through Design of Childhood Habitats. Adobe PDF
Moore, Robin; Cosco, Nilda G.
(Paper presented at Conference on People, Land, and Sustainability: A Global View of Community Gardening, University of Nottingham, UK. , Sep 2000)
A small but growing body of research indicates that daily experience of nature, spending time outdoors in the fresh air and sunlight, in touch with plants and animals, has a measurable impact on healthy child development. Nature must be seen as an essential component of the experiential world of childhood, designed into every childhood habitat, providing daily immersion in nature, putting children in close touch with the biosphere. Landscape designers should intervene in children's environments, involve children in the process, and create the necessary diversity of experience of the natural world to empower children as individuals to create a new, biologically wise society. 7p.

The Edible Schoolyard.
Capra, Fritjof; Comnes, Leslie; Cook, Esther; Hawkins, David; Jackson, Wes; McCullough, Yvette; Waters, Alice
(Learning in the Real World; A Publication of the Center for Ecoliteracy, Berkeley, CA , 1999)
Introduces the Edible Schoolyard Project (ESP) in which students create a garden, watch it grow, and develop a bond with nature. Chapters include: (1) "Implications of the Edible Schoolyard Project" (Wes Jackson); (2) "A World of Possibilities" (Alice Waters); (3) "The Garden Experience" (David Hawkins); (4) "From the Kitchen and the Table" (Esther Cook); (5) "An Edible Schoolyard Recipe: Red Chard Wraps"; (6) "Nurturing a Climate for School Change"; (7) "A Conversation with Educators"; (8) "Developing Ecoliteracy" (Yvette McCullough); (9) "The Principles of Ecology"; (10) "Creativity and Leadership in Learning Communities" (Fritjof Capra); (11) "A Time-Tested Recipe" (Zenobia Barlow); (12) "About the Center for Ecoliteracy"; and (13) "About the Edible Schoolyard." 91p.

Digging Deeper: Integrating Youth Gardens Into Schools and Communities.
Kiefer, Joseph; Kemple, Martin; Manaugh, Melanie
(Food Works, 1998)
This book provides educators with practical, clear information on how to develop youth gardens in schools and communities. It shows how school gardening is an ideal vehicle to meet high educational standards and achieve learning results. 144p.

References to Journal Articles

School Design and Students’ Relationships with the Natural World
Indira Dutt
Children, Youth and Environments; v22 n1 , p198-226 ; Spring 2012
This qualitative study is an exploration of intermediate students’ experience of the natural world as mediated by indoor/outdoor elements. The fieldwork for this project was conducted in the spring of 2009 at Bowen Island Community School in British Columbia. The research includes data collected from two focus groups, semi- structured interviews, photographs and fieldnotes. Using thematic analysis, the research found that indoor/outdoor interfaces and the presence of both gardens and forest as play environments provided students with a sense of freedom, joy, social cohesiveness and aesthetic pleasure in relation to their physical learning environment. Results are discussed in terms of future school design and other relevant student impacts. [Author's abstract]

Realizing a Holistic Approach to Food through School Gardens and Growing Activities
Mat Jones, Emma Weitkamp, Richard Kimberlee, Debra Salmon and Judy Orme
Children, Youth, and Environments; , p75-98 ; Spring 2012
Garden-enhanced education in schools is increasingly recognized as a promising strategy for promoting healthier eating and environmental awareness for children. Analysis of the development of school garden initiatives can offer insights into how these benefits may be optimized. Using a mixed-methods approach, our study tracked the progress of 55 primary schools participating in the Food for Life Partnership: a multi-component school food program. The findings showed considerable expansion of food growing facilities, outputs and supporting infrastructure. Participating students, parents and community volunteers helped create new links to food-related activities in the dining hall, the classroom and the home environment. This provided a mandate for lead teaching staff, often working under conditions of social deprivation and poor green space, to create a more holistic approach to food in school life. The effectiveness of these changes connected to the strategic re-development of growing spaces and the conceptually integrated messages on food sustainability. [Authors' abstract]

Reconnecting Kids to Nature: The Benefits of School Gardens
Bucklin-Sporer, Arden and Pringle, Rachel Kathleen
Natural Home and Garden; Feb 2011
School gardens provide a space for students to reconnect to the ecology around them and learn about natural systems that support life on our planet. excerpt from "How to Grow a School: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers" by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle (Timber Press, 2010). The excerpt is from Chapter 1: Why School Gardens?

A Design That Teaches Others.
Theimer, James
DesignShare; May 17, 2009
Advocates creating school buildings that teach environmental stewardship, emphasizing retention of trees, recycling, and school gardens.

Designs on Sustainability and Learning.
Mason, Craig
Learning By Design; n18 , p170 ; 2009
Uses DuPont, Washington's Pioneer Middle School as an example of a sustainable facility that figures prominently in the curriculum. Electronic displays within the building illustrate energy consumption and energy savings, outdoor gardens host experiments in food and herb cultivation, and an extensive recycling program includes composting of cafeteria food.

How Does Your Schoolyard Grow?: A Green Playground Extends the Classroom Outdoors.
Rapaport, Richard
Edutopia; Oct 01, 2007
Profiles the natural schoolyard and playground features of San Francisco schools, including a water pump set in a plot of dirt ready to make mud for castles, dams, flood plains, and related projects, as well as an edible schoolyard and planting of formerly asphalt areas. The movement to "green" California schoolyards is profiled also.

How to Get Started with a School Garden Project.
Nicholson, Casey
(, Seattle, WA, 2007)
Advises on organizing a school gardening project, including choosing the location, obtaining the supplies, plant selection, and land preparation. 2p.

Down and Dirty.
Lucas, Cheri
Edutopia; v2 n2 ; Mar 2006
Describes how schools have used schoolyard gardens to teach math, biology, and local history.

The Edible Schoolyard.
Furger, Roberta
Edutopia Online; Mar 11, 2004
On the campus of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, in Berkeley, California, students grow and prepare their own school lunches, getting a "seed to table experience" that reinforces the connection between the earth and the food we eat. The program is inspired and led by Alice Waters, organic chef and owner of Berkeley's Chez Panisse restaurant.

Schoolyard Lessons: More and More Schools Are Finding Ways To Take Education Outdoors.
Boss, Suzie
Northwest Education; v6 n4 , p37-38 ; Summer-Fall 2001
School gardens can teach kids about cooperation, nature, science, creativity, and community service. Gardens also help teachers address students' diverse needs and interests. Tips for school gardeners include: make it easy to use, keep groups small, be inclusive, build partnerships, have clear rules, think year-round, have fun, and celebrate beauty.

Master Gardener Classroom Garden Project: An Evaluation of the Benefits to Children.
Alexander, Jacquelyn; North, Mary-Wales; Hendren, Deborah
Children's Environments; v12 n2 , p123-133 ; Jun 1995
Analyzes data collected on 52 second and third grade students participating in this project that provides inner-city children in the San Antonio Independent School District with an experiential way of learning about horticulture, gardening, themselves, and their relationships with their peers. Qualitative interviews indicate that participation in the gardening project has had many positive effects on the school children. The children have gained pleasure from watching the products of their labor flourish, and have had the chance to increase interactions with their parents and other adults. In addition, the children have learned the anger and frustration that occur when things of value are harmed out of neglect or violence. Includes six references.

The Case For More High School Gardens.
Fang, Wei
Urban Agriculture Notes; 1995
While the use of gardens as educational resources has been predominantly limited to primary schools, the skills gained through gardening are beneficial to students of all ages. Since they involve experiential and cooperative learning, school gardens have long been advocated as effective learning tools by many educational philosophers and reformers. The high school garden serves as a foundation from which valuable lessons about the environment are learned. In doing so, it fosters and strengthens a community. The communal, environmental, and social discoveries made in growing a vegetable garden provide academic and personal challenges for high school students. [Author's abstract]



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