Building a Schoolyard Garden

Arianna Lindberg (Landscape Architecture)
Holly Grace Nelson (Landscape Architecture)

School gardens have a long history in the United States and have the capability to support academic, community and social development, promote healthy lifestyles, and foster ecological stewardship. This seminar is a collaboration with the Rutgers Psychology Child Development Center for whom we will build and plant a series of raised vegetable garden beds. The Center is a twelve-month preschool, sponsored and operated by the Psychology Department and located at the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH) on Cook Campus. It has been providing early care and education for children 1-5 years of age since 1930 with a mission to provide a wide range of enriching and recreational activities in an environment that is conducive to discovering joy in learning. The garden beds will provide a dynamic space for hands-on activities and a direct source of fresh produce for the preschoolers and staff throughout the year. Students participating in the Schoolyard Garden seminar will acquire knowledge related to the incorporation of gardening and sensory exploration in early childhood education and development. This will be facilitated through readings from Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods and the Collective School Garden Network, as well as through small group development of a preschool-level garden lesson plan that the Child Development Center can utilize. This lesson plan may explore plant morphology, nutrition, soil, or other ideas that make use of the garden as a living laboratory. Students will also gain first-hand experience regarding cross-disciplinary collaboration on campus, and will become familiar with basic methods of extending the growing season and planning for different seasons of cultivation.

Course Number: 
11:090:101 section 05 index 14133