Explorer Elementary Charter School’s Teaching Garden is an opportunity for teachers to link inside learning to outside experiences. All garden experiences are integrated into Explorer’s rich curriculum, from our Social-Emotional learning curriculum, to literature, math, science, art, and more. Each class at Explorer has a raised bed garden plot, and some classes are using other areas of the garden, as well, to create butterfly gardens and native plant gardens, and areas for the peace and beauty of art projects in the garden.
Working in a garden gives children a hands-on experience of the natural world. It gives them a visceral understanding of the basic laws of nature — how the smallest microbes help break apart our lunches to make compost, for example, or — on a larger scale — how a lack of natural predators leads to an overabundance of prey animals, such as the squirrels who keep trying to get into our garden beds. It gives our children a chance to understand with their whole beings how our planet can stay healthy and in balance, and how they have a role to play in maintaining that equilibrium.
Welcome parents, teachers, students and garden friends to the Explorer Elementary Charter School Teaching Garden Weblog. I am the Garden Coordinator in our school garden. I am also a teacher and environmental educator by training, a freelance writer, and the mother of two wonderful Explorer graduates. This blog is to help the Explorer community stay connected to what is happening in the school garden. I’ll include information about what students are discovering in the garden, as well as photos of what is growing. I’ll also post information about work days, volunteer needs, amazing discoveries — such as the milkweed bush we planted that was covered with Monarch caterpillars the first day of school — and more.
In 2014, we received grants from the Whole Food Foundation and the La Jolla Village Garden Club to remodel our garden. The community effort and results have been beautiful to behold! We hope you enjoy it as much as our students!