The school garden will be at the top of your mind, but may not be at the forefront of the minds of those in the school less involved. The more you can bring it to their attention and get them thinking about it, the more connections will be developed, and the more the garden will be used.

Here are some ideas for keeping the garden on people’s minds:
  • Talk about the garden in every possible faculty meeting.
  • Ask the principal for a time slot in the next school-wide assembly to promote the garden among the students.
  • Incorporate the garden as a teaching tool even before it is built. Ask the students for their ideas of what should be in the garden – and then really listen! Most students have great ideas about possible garden designs or features, but we tend to think that as adults we know what is best. For example, adults at one school did not think about developing a dragon garden, but their second graders did. The result was a tremendous level of ownership by the students.
  • If the faculty has established the primary educational goals, put those forth to the students and invite their design ideas, so that the resulting garden will naturally support the underlying education goals with the students at the center.
  • Ask for the students to develop their own garden design plan and discuss those plans that offer the best design solutions. Develop a composite plan based on the best student plans so it includes multiple ideas. Post the composite drawing in public places at the school so students can see the vision.
  • Promote the project to parents in the school newsletter and the student newspaper.
  • Put up a banner announcing the future site of the school garden.
  • Recruit classes to sign up for Planting Day. Ask if they want to have ownership of a particular garden area for long-term maintenance.
  • Involve the art classes in producing outdoor art for the garden.
  • Ask younger students to start seeds on their classroom windowsills. It’s difficult to grow seedlings without a grow light, therefore it’s beneficial to have one in your classroom. If heavier construction projects are to be done by a contractor, have the students come out and take tours during this phase.
  • Make sure the students do any work that is possible for them to do – including moving wheelbarrows or pails of compost to amend soil; planting the smaller shrubs, perennials, and annuals; and mulching the beds.
  • Celebrate the garden with refreshments and special events once it’s planted.
  • Visit the garden regularly with your class, whether for active investigation, quiet reading time, or simply to observe and write in their journals.