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*Welcome Kaci Rae Christopher, author of The School Garden Curriculum!

 
master steward
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Please join me in welcoming Kaci Rae Christopher, author of The School Garden Curriculum



Read the book review here!

Kaci Rae will be hanging out in the forums until April 28th, answering questions and sharing her experiences with you all.

At the end of the week, we'll make a draw for 4 lucky winners to win a copy of her book! From now until Friday, all new posts in the Kids forum are eligible to win.

To win, you must use a name that follows our naming policy and you must have your email set up to receive the Daily-ish email.

The winners will be notified by Personal Moosage and must respond within 24 hours. Only the winners who respond within that timeframe will receive their book. Watch for a PM, and a notice in this thread announcing the winners!


Please remember that we favour perennial discussion.  The threads you start will last beyond the event.  You don't need to use Kaci Rae's name get her attention. We like these threads to be accessible to everyone, and some people may not post their experiences if the thread is directed to the author alone.

 
garden master
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Hi Kaci! Welcome to permies.com! I hope you enjoy it here and like answering the questions people ask you!
 
gardener
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Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Welcome Kaci! I look forward to reading your insights.
 
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Welcome Kaci! Thanks for providing this great resource. Passing on this knowledge to the next generation could have such a huge positive impact on the world. I'm always trying to discuss and make my kids aware of these topics.
I have a 7 and 9-year-old in public school. Does your book recommend integrating these lessons into the existing activities they do around plants and gardening? At my school, they do the typical planting things in little cups and taking them home, learning about the water cycle, etc. But I imagine they could simply expand on what they already teach. Or would you advocate for carving out a whole new program and adding this as a new subject, which would take a little more getting support from parents and pitching the idea to the school board and administrators. Our school is K-8 so I think a program like this would be great.
Just wondering how people normally get started bringing this stuff to a public school.
 
master steward
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Welcome!

So glad to have you here.
 
author
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Hello! Thank you everyone for the warm welcome! I am so pleased to be hosted by Permies.com this week and to be in engaged in conversations with passionate people around garden education with children.

Nathan, to answer your question, you'll find that the lessons and activities in my book build around and support those projects that are already in place. The lessons I provide take 30-45 minutes per week, so they can easily fit into a teacher's schedule or expand from already established lessons. My goal is that each school and community can use this resource as a foundation for building their own unique program that fits into their culture and schedule. The teachers at your children's school may find that they are already doing some of the lessons I suggest, or find new ways to expand off their curriculum standards and units into gardening lessons too.

At a K-8 school I taught at, I saw that when the whole school/staff was invested in the garden program, with each student learning a new gardening subject every year that built off the one before it, then the personal growth and knowledge of each child was transformative. To get started in a public school, it may begin with one teacher or volunteer interested in doing a whole year of weekly gardening lessons with a class, and then could be incorporated by other teachers who see how it works. Or it may mean introducing the administration and staff to the book together and engaging in a conversation about what a garden program could be, generating community buy-in and support. I'm sure this book would be a great fit for your school too!
 
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Welcome Kaci! I will be graduating from college in May with a Nutrition degree and want to go into the public school systems and introduce farm to school programs throughout Arkansas! I am excited about my new career path and think I can make a real difference! I think your book would be a perfect addition to my library as I am still learning how to teach the children. I will be going to Fayetteville, AR in fall to join the Appleseeds program through Americorps! It's an exciting endeavor to say the least! So glad to have you here!
 
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This looks like an awesome book.
 
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Location: USA, Arkansas, zone 7b
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Trying to help instill a love of nature to my homeschooled grandchildren. Your book will be a wonderful resource!
 
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Welcome to Permies.com, Kaci Rae.  
 
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That looks like a great book. Thanks for writing one for kids education in gardening.
 
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Welcome to permies Kacie Rae! As a homeschool mom, I'm super excited about your book and learning from you.
 
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Hi there, welcome Kaci!
When kids grow veggies they eat their veggies! Daughter loves picking kale leaves from garden to eat out of hand.
With school gardens it seems challenging to keep the momentum going. How do you propose maintaining involvement year to year?
 
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Welcome!  
 
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Welcome! This looks like a great book!
 
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My little guy is 15 months and am so excited to get him out in the garden with me this year!  I am trying to get community gathered here in the town I just moved to and get a garden/public produce happening. It is slow going and I see where persistence is definitely needed.  This area doesn’t have anything going in the way of community produce.  This book looks like a great resource to have on hand!
 
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Welcome, Kaci! What an awesome resource that I look forward to checking out! I work with hundreds of students in an outdoor classroom in a middle school each week and find that there are always a few students set to destroy things, whether it is signs that were just built, irrigation pieces getting pulled apart, etc. Any tips on managing the challenging students who want to make a mess of things?
 
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Well this is exciting!  My grandson is being homeschooled using Ohio's curriculum, but has already passed kindergarten and first grade, moving on to second, at age 5!  He needs some better stuff...and he loves the garden...and throwing pinecones.  So A warm welcome to you Kaci!
 
pollinator
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Welcome Kaci Rae! So happy to have you here. I have two little ones and am excited to get them involved with gardening this year.
 
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Welcome, Kaci!
Your book looks like a fantastic and timely resource for me, as I am working on a proposal for a two day a week Ag/horticulture camp to run in my community this Summer.  I'm currently taking a Master Gardener class as well and am planning to teach horticulture classes in the local Adult Ed programs after I am done,  and possibly also at the vocational school where I am currently working as the school Tutor - so I am also wondering if you have thoughts regarding adapting the lessons in the book for older students?
Thanks and regards,
-Ethan
Arundel, ME
 
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Welcome Kaci! I look forward to learning more about you and your book!
I have two school age girls, 10 and 6, and we are lucky enough to have a school garden program. I've befriended the teacher and have been extolling the virtues of permaculture! This book could make a great end of year gift.
 
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Cris Fellows wrote:Well this is exciting!  My grandson is being homeschooled using Ohio's curriculum, but has already passed kindergarten and first grade, moving on to second, at age 5!  He needs some better stuff...and he loves the garden...and throwing pinecones.  So A warm welcome to you Kaci!



Here's an idea for your grandson, Chris. Have him collect pine (or other) cones for the strawberry bed. It looks neat (both nifty and tidy) and the cones keep the strawberries clean. They tend to keep slugs away from the fruit, as well. (And then your grandson will have a good cache of cones for throwing once the berry season is over!)

Julie
GreenHeart Education
 
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Hello,
I apologize if this was answered in one of the threads but I am wondering if you sell the curriculum as a whole with lesson plans, etc., or just the book itself? Thanks so much and looking forward to reading it

Lara
 
Julie Johnston
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Ethan Davis wrote:Welcome, Kaci!
Your book looks like a fantastic and timely resource for me, as I am working on a proposal for a two day a week Ag/horticulture camp to run in my community this Summer.  
Thanks and regards,
-Ethan
Arundel, ME



Ethan, there's an article here (https://greenteacher.com/starting-a-school-garden-summer-camp/) about running a garden daycamp in the summer. Part of the article is password protected, but it's a great little magazine for outdoor / environmental / garden / permaculture educators.

Julie
 
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Hello Kaci and welcome. I am also helping children learn to garden at our local grade school. It is very rewarding to know that with a little knowledge these children will be able to grow their own food. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book.
 
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  I am so glad to see so many excited about this. I worked with children for 30 years and always tried to bring growing things and nature into the room. Beans were always a great thing to grow since they grow fast and the kids can watch the process. Or we put carrots in clear jars so they could see that plants grow under the ground as well.  And of course we got to eat everything too. Parents were always amazed the kids would eat the vegetables when they would not at home. I think part of that is they had a part in growing them it was "their" food, and was special to them. And we tried to have the best soil we could and grow them organically so the taste was so much better than anything you can get in a store.  I remember one little boy crying when all the broccoli was gone.... how often does that happen these days?  
 We also raised butterflies, worms, tadpoles..etc.  It is so important to introduce nature to children as many are never really exposed to it anymore. I hope many more school will begin programs like this.  Welcome to Permies!!!
 
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Welcome Kaci! I love that you wrote this book. I am the school garden educator for grades K-8. We have established gardens at the elementary and middle schools. Im struggling with teachers being able to offer more than just 15 minutes for their students in the garden. This year I’m offering a summer school option for the garden for kids who want additional time in the garden. The children plant the garden as 3rd graders and come back a 4th graders to harvest it. Our lunch lady makes a “harvest soup” from it. The middle school the 5th graders plant it and I’m working with the home ec teacher to get the kids out there to harvest it and actually cook with it.
 
Kaci Rae Christopher
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Wonderful, so many great questions and ideas from an awesome, engaged community! it means so much to me to be welcomed so warmly and to see such enthusiasm. There are many people who are starting or looking to start community projects. I just want to mention that this book is a great resource to mention using if you are pursuing grant funding

Haley, I'm so excited to hear about your plans! Americorps provided me the opportunity to really get into garden education in a powerful way. I hope you enjoy the experience too.

Sena, keeping the momentum of a school garden going can be a problem, for sure! Community buy-in is so vital to the sustainability of the program and space-usage. Having one adult engaged but not others can stunt the growth and exhaust that person carrying the load. One way that has worked in the communities I teach/garden in is to build garden engagement around already established community events. Another is to ask the community/staff to each commit to a yield within a time frame. This could be a yield of produce, seeds planted, time worked/spent in the garden, or student research.

Kasey, I hear you! I've learned the hard way not to get too emotionally attached to anything in the learning garden, because of how much has been picked away at, broken, picked prematurely, etc. One way I have addressed this is to begin the first class of the season discussing community expectations, writing these up, and posting them in public as a social and environmental contract. I continue bringing these expectations up at the beginning of each class (for all ages), because reminders don't hurt. For older students, I try to keep them physically active as much as possible. I've seen idle hands and minds turn destructive to their surroundings, so I try to keep those hands full and moving, even if it's digging or wheelbarrowing materials.

Ethan, it sounds like you have some great things going on! A two week ag/camp sounds awesome and is inspiring. While this book is focused on K-8, I think the lessons are very adaptable for older students too. I've even had adults who know very little about gardening buy the book so they can learn from the basics to more advanced permaculture-inspired concepts. My goal is that the book will be used as a foundation for each educator/community to build their own unique culture and program. Perhaps these lessons could be a good foundation for you to build even more advanced lessons off of? It is also easily accessible if your older students want to learn by teaching younger students.

Lara, to answer your question, the book contains over 270 lessons plans for weekly K-8 gardening experiences. There are also 60 worksheets for free online.





 
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As an organic land care education facility, we often get requests for K-12 educational resources, and I shall add this one to the list! Thanks :D
CJ/Gaia College
 
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This book is just what I have been looking for. I have a childcare program and am working on a permaculture design certificate. I want to weave the two together and this book looks very helpful. I just ordered it! Thanks Kaci!
 
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Welcome!!! This is so exciting. And so important. I think we should integrate this into the curriculum starting at KINDERGARTEN! One can hope. Looking forward to this discussion!! :D

What websites do you love for resources and educational material?
 
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Location: Driggs, ID
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Hi Kaci,
I am a special education paraprofessional for high school students. Do you think that the lessons in your book could be adapted to be used in a high school special education environment? This sounds like a really cool book!
Best,
Rachel
 
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Hi Kaci,

This looks like an awesome resource! I teach pre-k and kindergarten in Italy and am tryingto figure outa curriculum that works with this age group.
One of our schools is in the center of the city and the only outdoor space the kids have is a rooftop terrace where the play and where there is not even one plant! They are in desperate need for some nature and green in their learning and play environment.

Our other school has a beautiful garden wjere the kids play, but no food plants.

The administration is not too excited about a garden, they don't want to spend ANY money and won't let me use any of the grass area.

I am trying to figure out a solution that won't cost me too much money and that won't step on any toes.

I would love to start a school garden at my son's school as a vlunteer afternoon project!

I am not a very experienced gardener, do you think this would be a good source to learn to garden along with the kids?

Thanks again!

Meyer
 
Kaci Rae Christopher
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Hello Rachel and Meyer, thank you for the welcome! I know this resource would be a great inspiration for both of your needs. There are over 270 lessons to inspire students of all ages and circumstances, and they are a great opportunity to learn alongside students. You don't have to be an expert to teach it! Just have a growth mindset and a willingness to experiment.

Each lesson includes additional recommended resources for educators who want to learn more, and many have activity extension suggestions for those who want to take the lessons even farther. These lessons are adaptable and can be a foundation for each of you to create your own unique garden culture.
 
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Welcome! If I don't win your book I'm going to buy it. I think it will be an awesome resource for my upcoming endeavor.
 
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WELCOME Kaci Rae!  (just as i was trying to decrease my screen time, along comes THE resource I need for the organization we have begun growing.)  Can't wait for rainy days so I can do MORE reading.  THANKS for sharing your knowledge in a way that WE can easily share further!!!  
 
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