“Gardening inspires tranquility, joy, and passion in kids and teachers alike.” — Amanda S, 2nd year AmeriCorps member
4-H CAPITAL’s Youth Gardening program connects kids with nature through engaging activities that inspire a love of exploration, experimentation, problem solving, and learning. Youth Gardening takes a look at the ecosystem as a whole: local wildlife, soil life, sun, water, sustainable practices, and of course, plants (veggies, herbs, trees, wildflowers, and other natives). As a STEM-focused class, YG activities include hands-on fun with physics, chemistry, technology, engineering design, and more as we study the outdoor world. Instructors and youth may choose to grow an organic vegetable garden for healthy living, plant native trees to benefit campus, create a native habitat for pollinators or other wildlife, or develop another project. YG instructors guide students to value environmental stewardship, service learning, teamwork, and responsibility, helping shape our students into citizens of good character.
“I love teaching 2nd graders about gardening because they get really excited about eating the vegetables they grew. Also the kids are more apt to get involved in learning about plants needs and processes, like photosynthesis!” –Maggie H., AmeriCorps member
Example Unit Plans
Here are just a few examples of the many concepts our instructors explore with our Youth Gardening curriculum at 4-H CAPITAL. These abbreviated Unit Plans show how lessons connect concepts and build toward a culminating activity.
“I teach youth gardening, with a Unit Plan emphasis on the living/organic aspects of a garden… the above and below ground critters involved in the garden, materials (compost, mulch) that were once living or come from something living, and obviously the plants themselves! I love being able to teach outdoors, interact with nature, and get my hands dirty – and so do the kids.” — Sally B., AmeriCorps member
Morning Assignment Team
Our Youth Gardening morning assignment team is a group of Full-time AmeriCorps members, guided by the YG Curriculum Specialist, who assist the full YG team with the preparation and maintenance of our school gardens, organizing our shed, getting transplants, growing seeds, and more. Additionally, our YG morning-assignment team has the opportunity to develop and implement their own team project for their service year. In the past we have had such projects as providing activities to youth at a local community garden or helping develop a large habitat at a nearby high school. Listen to a former member share their experience on this team.