Elementary School Garden Program
Connecting kids to where their food comes from, to each other and to the natural world.
The Cornucopia Project brings edible education to elementary schools in the ConVal School District in Southwestern, New Hampshire. First grade students take part in the garden program lessons during the spring months and finish the “garden cycle” as they transition to second grade in the fall. At two schools, all grades participate in the program.
Cornucopia garden teachers visit each school weekly during the spring and fall. They lead hands-on garden lessons and plant and harvest vegetables, herbs and edible flowers with students. Each school has an array of garden beds on their school grounds. As part of the garden program, most of the garden beds were built by students.
Through this 14-week garden learning experience, students…
- engage in meaningful garden work;
- build a basic understanding of plants as living organisms, the structure and function of plant parts, the life cycle of plants and soil components;
- reinforce their academic classroom learning through garden activities and lessons and
- begin to develop an understanding of where food comes from and actively engage in the growing process.
Supporting Educational Goals
- Provide students with a direct connection to their food source through hands on lessons
- Enhance the curriculum in core subject areas (math, science, language arts, social studies)
- Apply concepts learned in the classroom to what students do in the garden
- Allow students to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills in real life situations
- Promote a sustainability ethic and sense of responsibility for the local environment
- Foster healthy eating habits and food choices within the context of growing and sampling from school gardens
Find our gardens at these New Hampshire schools:
Antrim Elementary School has 3 raised beds for students in grades 1 and 2.
Dublin Consolidated School has 7 raised beds, a sapling teepee, one in-ground bed and a compost bin for students in grades K through 5. Much of the garden produce is used in the school cafeteria.
Francestown Elementary School has 3 raised beds for students in grades 1 and 2.
Greenfield Elementary School has 5 raised beds for students in grades 1 and 2.
Hancock Elementary School has 3 raised beds, 2 “lasagna beds”, a sapling teepee, and several Three Sisters mounds for students in grades K through 4. Students gather their vegetables every fall to cook a delicious harvest supper for their school community.
Peterborough Elementary School has 9 raised beds, as well as a 3-bin compost area, for students in grades 1 and 2. Students are excited to bring some of their vegetables to the school cafeteria, where they can also make kale chips!
Pierce Elementary School (Bennington) has 3 raised beds for students in grades 1 and 2.
Temple Elementary School has 3 raised beds and a compost bin for students in grades 1 and 2. Students collect some of the produce for a community harvest dinner each fall.
Want to bring garden education to your school? We can help!
Contact us at 603-784-5069.
Lesson Plan Overview
We scaffold our spring and fall lessons to build upon what students have already learned in previous grades, and take into account their developmental stage, interests and abilities, and academic needs. We emphasize place-based education and stewardship, and promote experiences that allow children to develop a relationship with their surroundings.
Here’s a snapshot of our spring programming:
Theme: Exploring the Garden with Five Senses
Sample Lesson: Sheep, Shoes and Sunflowers
Plants: Sunflowers, carrots, pumpkins
Grades 1: The Garden Detectives
Theme: Discovery of Plants
Sample Lesson: Soil Explorers
Plants: Beans, snap peas, beets
Grade 2: The Botanists
Theme: Systems, Interdependance, Structure and Function
Sample Lesson: Flower Investigation
Plants: Tomatoes, kale, lettuce
Theme: The Neighborhood
Sample Lesson: Using Weather Instruments
Plants: Squash, pole beans, potatoes
Grades 4 and 5: The Production Gardeners
Sample Lesson: Food Map
Plants: Spinach, brussels sprouts, garlic