The School Garden Curriculum: An Integrated K–8 Guide for Discovering Science, Ecology, and Whole-Systems Thinking
by Kaci Rae Christopher, 320 pages, 8x10, softcover. My family kept a large vegetable garden when I was a child, and some of my earliest memories were formed there. Not all children are so lucky. Many grow up with no idea how a carrot ends up on the table or how a potato grows. This disconnect comes at great culinary, social, and environmental cost to society. Christopher shows how we can return traditional agricultural knowledge to a central place in education, while also meeting contemporary institutional expectations (she ties her curriculum to the Next Generation Science Standards). Her curriculum is broken down by age group, then by season, with age-appropriate activities that teach students about botany, ecology, and social interaction while keeping their bodies active and instilling the permaculture principles of “Care for Self, Care for Others, Care for the Land.” Sample activities include “Gardener’s Math” (a first-grade activity teaching measurements, estimates, and the recording of data), “Cafeteria Waste Audit” (a fourth-graders study food waste and explore vermicomposting), and “Food Preservation” (a pickling workshop for eighth-graders). She advocates for interactive, consistent student participation rather than isolated activities that lose sight of the whole process from seed to table. Not just for professional educators: this book contains a wealth of ideas for homeschooling, or for adults who want to share the gardening experience with the children in their lives. -Alice Coyle NEW!
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