Garden Program

Garden Program

The CCE Garden program began in 1994 with the goal to "create some gardens that are pretty, interesting, educational and inviting." With only a handful of teachers and classes participating, the gardens quickly proved helpful for teaching the basics of colors, shapes, and new vocabulary in Spanish. 

Every year since the program started, the gardens have been expanded or new ones created as more and more teachers, students and parents have joined in. Now nearly every class participates, with at least one garden parent from each class coordinating year-round garden activities. 

Many of the garden areas are class plots where teachers designate what is planted. Other areas belong to the whole school but are adopted by a class for planting and maintenance. The numerous CCE garden areas are enjoyed by all as they dot the school with color and life. Some are part of the lunch area while others line the playground andcan be visited at recess. We encourage the entire CCE community to use and explore all the school gardens.

About the CCE Gardens

Totaling approximately 7,000 square feet, the CCE gardens include the following garden areas, listed in chronological order of development:

  • Kindergarten gardens: Includes class plots, wild area and rainbow garden (fall 1994)
  • Playground gardens: Includes 1st grade class plots, 4th grade Mission gardens, 5th grade Colonial and Native American gardens, and 6th grade crops of ancient civilizations (fall 1995)
  • Herb gardens: Includes culinary, dye, insect repellent, medicinal, disinfectant, cosmetic and aromatic plants (fall 1997)
  • Five tiled planters for 2nd grade classes; Stage garden east and west (fall 1998)
  • Shade garden, butterfly garden, and 22 classroom garden barrels (fall 1999)
  • Redwood Park garden: Includes plants used by California natives; tended 4th graders (fall 2000)
  • 3rd grade community garden: Includes class plots and community areas (fall 2000)
  • West Davis Elementary Memorial garden (fall 2001)
  • Debbie Balka Memorial garden (fall 2002)
Working Together

Under the supervision of teachers, garden parents or the garden coordinator, the children now do almost all the planting, mulching, spring and fall cleanups andcomposting. Although we have SIPAT's financial support, we try to minimize expenses by recycling and reusing materials and by obtaining new plants from gardeners with extras. Parents and students have worked together to tile concrete planters using broken dishes, construct an 80-foot twig fence, build pathways from donated broken concrete, and build benches from old logs.

Growing Minds

Our goal to increase the educational aspects of the gardens is slowly being realized. The gardens are now included in social studies, math, science, art, literature, writing, nutrition, cooking and recycling. A garden guide—including lesson plans, calendar of planting and garden tasks, specific information for each school garden, and a section on gardening skills and working with children—has been compiled for each grade level. These garden guides follow State standards and complement what is already being learned in the classroom.

Getting Involved

The CCE garden program would not happen without the dedicated efforts of many parent volunteers. We encourage you to volunteer in any way you can—from serving as a class garden parent, to weeding at a weekend work party, to helping sell plants at the plant sale, to donating plants and building supplies. No contribution is too small!

For more information, please contact any of the SIPAT Garden Program Coordinators:

Paul Havemann
Julia Seebach
Amber Husten
Paul Del Bene