School as a Garden


Our program mission is to provide an interactive Edible Education through environmental science, critical thinking and teamwork, and seed to table food experiences. We utilize the Life Lab curriculum, developed by UC Santa Cruz and lessons obtained from the Edible School Yard Academy in Berkeley, California.

Program Coordinators

christa photo Christa Holder (Garden Cooridinator/Teacher) – I teach garden science rotations to grades K-3 each week  in the garden as well as lead edible education lessons and write grants to support our program. I love helping students make new connections in the garden and I get  excited when  kids start tasting new vegetables and sharing about garden class with their friends.

Timothy Wheeler (Garden Coordinator/Teaher) – I teach garden science rotations to grades 4-6, maintain the garden spaces and complete projects to expand and improve our program .  I love helping students make connections between science, math and the garden.  When I see students excited about measuring, planning and working hard in the garden, I know they are experiencing something that will benefit them in school and life.

Campus Wide Gardens  Come visit our distinct and unique gardens throughout the campus that provide an outdoor learning environment for all Paul Ecke students and their families!

Garden Classes  Every student at PEC comes to garden class once every week. We spend the first part of class in the learning circle, discussing a science topic or learning about how to use our tools, or gaining understanding about the day’s project. Then students break into groups to do hands-on garden work, an experiment, or an observational activity somewhere on campus. We utilize the various campus gardens as teaching venues that exemplify various types of plants and garden relationships.

If you would like to volunteer to help during rotations, please let us know! We can always use an extra adult to break the students into different activity groups in the garden and manage space and projects better!

photo 1 (1)Edible Education Lessons  Teachers are invited to bring their class to cook with us in the garden! Our outdoor cooking space lends itself for full class or small group cooking, including learning about harvesting, cleaning, and preparing different vegetables and fruits. We prepare seasonal recipes that kids and parents can take with them and prepare at home.

Pizza Oven In 2016, students helped to construct a fully functional, wood-fire pizza oven with nothing more than clay soil dug up here at PEC and sand from the playground.  Students prepare dough, make pizza sauce from tomatoes grown over the summer and top pizzas with vegetables from the garden.  Not only do students get to make their own pizzas, but the pizza oven provides another learning tool to study thermal energy transfer.

Composting and Worms  Our composting station reduces our community waste in landfills and teaches environmental studies. A student group helps collect our green waste from our school kitchen and lunch area, feeding the worms and maintaining the compost piles. Students learn how to utilize the fresh compost and worm castings in the garden spaces and how they help keep our garden full of fresh nutrients!

Chickens  Our garden features a full-scale chicken area with 14 fluffy friends, and they are the most popular kids on campus! Students are making connections with the animal’s role in the garden and in cooking with fresh eggs. Each year we hatch new chickens, either with an incubator or under a broody hen.  Through this experience, students investigate life cycles.  When there is not enough room in the coop, we send the new chickens home to a loving family once they are old enough to be on their own.  Families volunteer to put the girls in the evenings and take care of them on the weekends.  Thank you Chicken Coopers!

Come Grow the Garden!  The PEC community is invited to help us grow the garden! Our volunteers make things happen and we appreciate support of our program! Come see what’s growin on and get dirty!