Our very own outdoor learning center – The Science Garden

“Hands-on education awakens [children’s] senses and opens their minds, both to their core academic subjects and to the world around them.”         
                                        ~Alice Waters, The Edible Schoolyard 


Kids Love Science!

Imagine that you come up on a pond filled with native fish, surrounded by aquatic plants – the perfect habitat for frogs and dragonflies.  A few steps from the pond an erosion table traces the path of water down a sandy trail.  Next to that, a scale model of the Sierra Mountains allows children a hands-on experience with their local watershed.  Beyond the mountains a series of moveable pipes lets children explore forces and flow, while a rock wall promotes geologic explorations and mineral identification. Now imagine this amazing hands on learning environment is just a few steps from classroom doors – our classroom doors, right here at Grass Valley Charter School!

At Grass Valley Charter School each student from Pre-K through 5th grade participates in the garden on a weekly basis. Students work alongside an experienced farmer employed full time by the school district. Over recent years students have taken part in a blossoming of the space including the building of a state of the art greenhouse and plant propagation facility. Students learn about a wide array of topics centered around food production in the garden. These topics include:

  • The chemistry of soil fertility
  • Photosynthesis as the source of all matter and energy entering the food chain
  • The value of native plants in an ecosystem
  • Seasonality of crop production
  • Simple tools and how to use them safely
  • Life cycles through seed saving
  • States of matter through evapotranspiration
  • Microbiology with relation the soil health and compost production
  • Ecosystem dynamics through our new pond
  • Yuba River watershed model and lessons

Students are given the opportunity to taste fresh fruits and vegetables that they had an active role in producing, in the process learning about nutrition. Any produce that is not directly consumed by students in the garden is brought to a garden cart at the front of the school to be purchased by parents, students and faculty of the school. All funds go back to the garden to sustain our garden program. Through this process students learn the importance of marketing.

The hands on garden work that we do in the garden provides an excellent opportunity to teach about the character traits such as perseverance and stewardship that are necessary to work on a farm or garden. 

YOU can help us keep this amazing space current and thriving. Donations may be made through our Grass Valley Charter School Foundation.