Cultivating Learning with School Gardens is a set of teacher-training materials and learning tools for schools, organizational leaders, and others to use community and school-based gardens as a laboratory or outdoor classroom. The materials can be used to teach not only gardening, but also to apply theory in biological and social sciences.

Content includes experiential learning activities that promote applied literacy and numeracy skills, hands-on lessons in several academic areas, sustainable garden science, how to involve community, and more. Program goals:

  1. Provide a laboratory for experiential learning to complement the standard school curriculum in all disciplines.
  2. Contribute to governments’ focuses on science, literacy, numeracy, and other educational priorities for both boys and girls.
  3. Contribute to the intellectual, psychological, vocational, and physical development of students through enhanced learning methods.
  4. Increase parent and community involvement in the school and transfer skills to home and community.

The garden science recommends culturally appropriate, natural, and sustainable gardening practices such as composting, crop rotation, and low-cost, natural pest controls.

Tool kit materials include: teachers manuals for primary and secondary school levels, a student manual, lessons guides for teaching gardening, visual aids, a game, a small “pocket guide” for schools and the community, and a training-of-trainers guide. Materials are available in English, French, Portuguese, Swahili, and Kinyarwanda, though not all materials are available in every language.

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Cultivating Learning with School Gardens – English

Jardins Scolaires pour Apprender et Cultiver – français

Cultivando e Aprendendo com Hortas Escolares – português

Swahili – Bustani Mchezo

Kinyarwanda – pocket guide text only

Materials were developed with initial funding from USAID to US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and other US land-grant universities. Materials were tested in the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Mozambique from 2005-2013 with African partners and have been adapted and used extensively with such programs as Liberia 4-H and 4-H Ghana.