"Students need to be made aware of the world around them, aware of the consequences of what they eat, aware of our precious natural resources. The school garden can communicate these important lessons."
- Alice Waters, Owner of Chez Panisse & Founder of Edible Schoolyard
The Red Hill Learning Garden utilizes grade-level lessons from GrowingGREAT (www.growinggreat.org). The teachers provide the lessons prior to the garden visit and the volunteers reinforce the lessons during each visit. The classroom vegetable boxes reflect the lesson plans (e.g., 3rd graders grow the Native American Three Sisters Garden: beans, corn, squash in the spring). The grade-specific activities described here reflect the State of California curriculum standards.
Kindergarten:These students focus on planting and maintaining the Touch and Smell and herb gardens. They also learn about major structures of common plants. For example, kindergartners learn about plant structure by growing tops (lettuce), bottoms (carrots), and middles (broccoli).
1st Grade: Our first grade students study the monarch butterfly life cycle habitat, which includes growing milkweed and maintaining the butterfly garden. They also learn about eating different parts of plants and understand what plants need to survive. The Butterfly Garden provides these students with a great place to see life cycles in action.
2nd Grade: In the second grade, students develop and maintain the compost bin and our worm (vermicomposting) program. They learn about similarities and differences between plant varieties. They also focus on data gathering and observations, measurement and geometry, plant and animal life cycles, and pollination.
3rd Grade: In third grade, Red Hill students grow and maintain a seed garden and harvest the seeds. They learn about endangered species, heirloom varieties planted by our ancestors, the tradition of saving seeds, the importance of biodiversity in agriculture, and the Native Americans’ use of complementary planting of species.
4th Grade: Fourth grade students maintain the Native California garden. They learn about California agriculture and farming, its importance to the US and world, and geographic differences between regions within the State. Students also learn about plants grown for food, medicine, and home life for the Tongva (Gabrielino) Indians and California missions and ranchos.
5th Grade:Our fifth graders grow and maintain a pumpkin patch and learn about agricultural consumerism through the Pumpkin Patch sales and Farmer’s Market fundraisers for 5th grade graduation. They also learn about the importance of vegetables for sustaining health, early American settlers’ plants brought over during colonization and the Revolutionary War, and the comparison between settlers’ and Native Americans’ plants.