Will Your School Garden Grow?
School gardens can open a world of learning experiences, all connected to curriculum learning outcomes, and focusing on a range of topics such as ecosystems, plant growth and change, and weather. It also touches on environmental factors, soil, living things, communities, human activities, patterns, and measurement. Gardens also provide numerous experiences that develop and reinforce inquiry and critical thinking skills such as questioning, making comparisons, data collection, analysis, and synthesis.1
Whether your school already has an outdoor classroom or school garden or would like to start planning for one, here are three great resources to help you along the way.
Alberta Health Services Community Garden Manual
This handbook contains information, key steps, tools and tips for community groups to start and maintain a community garden. As well, it offers background information that may support school gardening.
Getting Started: Steps for Success
Start and Run Your Garden – Installing/ Maintaining the Garden
Community Garden Lesson Plans
A Guide to Growing School Gardens in Alberta.
This Government of Alberta guide provides support for starting and maintaining a school garden, including the involvement of students and community members. It also supports learning opportunities that can be integrated across the curriculum.
This guide covers growing basics such as soil, fertilizer, watering, and a planting calendar detailing when and how to plant different vegetables.
University of Alberta Integrative Health Institute: Community School Gardens website
This online resource from Edmonton provides tips and ideas for Community School Gardens and links to numerous supportive resources for each of the
6 Steps to Success:
- Leadership: Not sure where to start? This step has the ‘idea readiness tool’ to help you assess your readiness.
- Engage with Community
- Plan your garden
- Build your garden
- Maintain your garden
Additionally, there are links to share and celebrate Success Stories in Alberta and Canada.
Good luck growing gardens and young minds!
Registered Dietitian with Alberta Health Services
 Government of Alberta, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. A Guide to Growing School Gardens in Alberta. 2011. http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/aet15480/$FILE/get_growing_manual_revised_2015_post.pdf