What is Garden Camp?
It is 7 session, weekly hands-on learning experience for 3rd grade students to plan, plant, tend and harvest a garden within 12 weeks in the spring. It integrates 3rd grade standards into a project-based learning that allows students to integrate science, math, and language arts into a real and relevant activity. Garden Camp utilizes volunteer educators who are accustomed to working with youth in a gardening environment. They work each week with a small team of students to give students a quality learning experience.
Why Garden Camp?
Students learn that they can grow vegetables and be a partner to nature. The results are quick and the crops we choose are hardy for the variable midwest climate. Students learn to work with another adult and because they are in small teams, their ideas, thoughts and suggestions can be more readily implemented and tested. Garden-based learning is the epitome of Growth Mindset, as there are many variables that impact growth of the garden. With their counselors and through our program, students learn from set-backs and develop grit.
Garden Camp is particularly helpful for school setting, as it places students outside of the classroom to utilize the past year’s lessons in math, language and science in a real-world setting and to integrate these lessons in a fun and challenging project where they also enhance their food skills.
Being outside and interacting with nature are also shown to help with self-regulation and improve mental health. The small groups in the outdoor classroom deliver a learning environment in which student inquiry and self-direction are welcomed and appreciated.
How it works
Seeds for Success provides a Camp Director and Camp Counselors, so that for each class, students will work in a small group for most success. The Camp Director and Counselors meet with each class for 40 minutes consecutively one afternoon a week. During this time, they introduce garden concepts, techniques and skills for planning, planting, tending and harvesting. Our pedagogy is grounded in inquiry and gradual release of responsibility, so that students can build on their cognitive and motor skills. In addition, the formation of small teams, means that everyone has a role and responsibility, and the Counselor works with students on communication, sharing, and building from each other’s ideas. While Garden Camp is highly aligned with Life Science Standards, the program is designed to foster 21st Century skills and leadership as well.
Each student receives a Camp Packet in which they record the crops they are planting, where they are planted and when. Each packet includes Observation Sheets in which students will draw and record the growth of their seeds for three weeks after planting.
There are seven sessions total over 11-12 weeks. Two occur before Spring Break (March), and then we plant and observe for four weeks after break (April). We give our crops another 3-4 weeks to grow, and then we harvest and clean up the garden beds. Harvest can vary, but every year students have grown enough to taste what they have grown, and surplus can go home or served in the Salad Bar that week. Students receive a certificate of accomplishment and they often give their counselors thank you cards as they have come to know and learn from another adult. We take pride that we get high marks from teachers, students and our counselors who make it happen.
Seeds for Success is responsible for
Recruiting and conducting the background checks and training of Camp Counselors.
Coordinating schedules, regular communications between school staff and counselors, ensuring garden meets safety standards and protocols.
Orienting teachers to program, and expectations, and making adjustments to meet their classroom needs. Provide templates for communications to families.
Provides all supplies, such as seeds, packets and teaching tools
To learn more or schedule this program, contact Gretchen at Hello@Seedsfs.com.