The Gardening and Cooking Program went through many changes over the last couple years. These changes gave us the opportunity to bring teachers, garden educators, and curriculum specialists together to develop a pilot curriculum in 2013–2014. Our team of experts studied existing lessons and research to synthesize lessons that best fit our learning goals for students. The lessons were improved with input from our teachers and garden educators, and further developed with a focus on connecting the classroom to the school garden. We are currently developing new curriculum projects for use with students in our middle school and Berkeley Technology Academy (BTA) gardens.
Why is the new curriculum important?
This year, 2015-2016, all students in preschool and elementary school will be taught the first district-wide Garden-Based Learning Curriculum. The curriculum is a result of many years of educating our students in the garden and builds on students’ experiences and lessons learned over time. The curriculum is designed for classroom teachers and garden instructors to teach together in the garden. Each concise and easy-to-follow 45 minute lesson connects to the Next Generation Science and Common Core Standards, as well as Physical, Environmental and Nutrition/Health Education content goals.
How is it funded?
This work is made possible with the School Board’s approval of ongoing funding for $350,000 and a grant from the City of Berkeley’s Measure D (Sugar Sweetened Beverage Distribution Tax) for $250,000, along with school site contributions of $15 per student served. These critical financial and programmatic steps have afforded us the opportunity to develop the first comprehensive garden-based learning program with a curriculum that is accessible to all of our students in preschool through middle school and at Berkeley Technology Acaademy (BTA). Community-driven support, along with unprecedented commitment from the School Board and the City of Berkeley, demonstrates thoughtful leadership and a continued dedication to educating the whole child.
Read more about our Gardening and Cooking Program, and download a PDF of the BUSD Garden-Based Learning Curriculum here.