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Program organization

Directions and forms to help organize classes and activities each year.

Fall Garden Start Up

Class participation: Each fall, the coordination team should contact teachers to assess their interest in gardening.  In turn, teachers should ask their parents to serve as garden parents to lead their class activities. This often occurs during parent volunteer sign-ups at back to school night. If teachers can't find a classroom parent, the garden team can try to find other parent or student volunteers to help with classes.  Here is a sample fall letter to send out to teachers.

Weekly class schedule: Once the participating classes are known, coordinators make up a weekly schedule that reserves a set time for each participating class.  This insures that enough tools will be available for all the students and helps manage the number of students working at one time.  Teachers determine what their total weekly or monthly garden time will be and also how they want to rotate students through the garden activities.  Typically, a class is divided into two or 3 rotations so that students can receive more individual supervision. Coordinators should send out the weekly schedule to all participating teachers and volunteers.  Weekly schedule sample form.

Schedule of lessons: The garden coordinators should decide upon a general schedule of lessons and activities that they want to support throughout the school year. This makes supply purchasing and lesson support easier when classes are generally on the same schedule. Coordinators send out this schedule to all participating teachers and volunteers. If teachers want to deviate from the schedule they often provide their own supplies. Teachers can help the coordinators by communicating any variations in scheduling. See past school year lesson schedules below.

Lesson schedules

School year 2009-2010: Fall, Winter/Spring

School year 2010-2011: Fall, Winter/Spring

School year 2011-12: Fall, Spring

School year 2012-13: Fall, Winter/Spring 

Communication is key: Coordinators should provide regular updates to teachers and volunteers. Email communication is usually efficient, but directions can also be provided on the bulletin board in the main garden shed. It helps for teachers and volunteers to have lesson plans ahead of time.

Train new volunteers: It is very useful for coordinators to provide to new volunteers an introduction to the garden areas and to garden class management. Links to garden descriptions and class rules.

Weather issues

Sometimes rain or wind make outdoor garden lessons difficult. It is useful to build in some "anytime" activities or activities that can be done inside into the overall garden schedule. The current yearly schedule was devised to take into account the seasonal variations in weather. Allowing extra time between lessons also helps to accomodate delays due to weather.

After school and summer gardening

In our current program, classes only work in the garden during school time.  If there is interest, an after-school "garden club" can be run and is a model in other schools in Davis.

Summer garden activities are variable and will depend upon the interests of the school community.  In the past, we sometimes had no active garden work during the summer. More recently, families been invited to "adopt" a garden box for their use over the summer, or a group of volunteers has maintained the gardens that were planted with warm season crops at the end of school in May/June.

Garden Maintenance

From time to time, parent volunteer help is needed to trim or weed areas of the school gardens. We try to build these tasks into the student garden activities but some jobs are too difficult for the children to master. Work parties of groups of parents or individual parents working on their own can tackle these larger maintenance tasks. Here is a summary of suggested regular maintenance duties: weeding (year round), pruning perennials in fall and 1-3 other times/year, prune white roses in front of office to keep below window level (3x/year), Science Garden irrigation repair as needed, clean and maintain compost area, refurbish wood chip mulch in Science Garden.


This site provided with the assistance of the Davis Community Network.