Learning Garden Rule-Making
Setting behavior expectations from the beginning will ensure that the Learning Garden is respected and can function as both an outdoor classroom and an engaging space for learning. Take into account your own classroom rules during this activity and consider implementing school-wide garden rules. In this activity, students think together to create a set of rules surrounding behavior and safety in the Learning Garden. When students participate and create Learning Garden rules they have a better understanding of the behavior expectations.
Materials and Preparation:
• Large surface for writing on (blackboard, whiteboard, butcher paper, etc.)
Gather students together in a circle or at desks and tables. Explain that the Learning Garden is a space to learn, explore, and observe living things. Let students know that in order for our outdoor learning classroom to be a safe and respectful place for students, plants, and animals, we must all follow some simple rules. Just like we have rules in our own classroom, we must establish rules for our Learning Garden. Ask students the following questions and record their responses or have them record their responses in groups:
• What are some ways that we can respect our garden?
• What are some ways we can respect each other in our garden?
• What are some ways we can stay safe in our garden?
Once the students have brainstormed ways to be safe in the garden and espectful of one another and the space, add other rules or behavior expectations to the list that may have been overlooked. See the attached list of example garden rules to incorporate into this activity. Each time to go to the Learning Garden, revisit with your students why it is important to establish safety and behavior expectations in the garden. Remind students that they are in charge of following and enforcing the rules made together in class today.
On your own, transcribe the rules onto a fresh sheet of paper or type them up and post where students will see the rules on a regular basis.
Example Garden Rules:
• This is our school’s garden, keep it beautiful and clean.
• Be kind to all plants, living things, your classmates, and yourself.
• Be respectful listeners when a speaker, teacher, or classmate is talking.
• Ask questions! Being curious is the best way to learn about your Learning Garden.
• Ask permission before you dig or pull up a plant in the Learning Garden.
• Ask permission before harvesting or touching plants in the Learning Garden.
• Ask permission before eating anything from the Learning Garden.
• Always walk in the Learning Garden to keep you, your classmates and the plants safe.
• Keep your feet on the ground, the Learning Garden isn’t a jungle gym.