Silver Spur Elementary participates in the Palos Verdes School Gardens (PVSG) Outdoor Classroom program, where lessons taught by PVSG garden educators encourage students and teachers to consider the school garden as an extension of the traditional classroom, rather than an extracurricular activity. The Outdoor Classroom lessons are tied to common core curriculum standards, encourage inquiry-based learning, provide hands-on experiential learning opportunities and support next generation science standards. As part of their grade level experience each week, students have opportunity to collaborate with their peers, write and draw what they experience in their garden journals, taste seasonal and local produce, plant and tend to their school garden beds and develop an understanding of what is needed to become an environmental steward of the future. The garden area includes: raised vegetable beds, vertical succulent gardens, cut flower gardens, a small citrus orchard, an herb garden, a reading garden with benches, a fruit garden, foraging garden, pollinator garden and native garden to learn in.
As part of the program, each classroom has a lead parent Garden Docent that acts as a liaison to the Garden Teacher, coordinating class volunteers, assisting with garden lessons and supporting a positive and respectful environment for students to learn and be inspired in. The class visits the Outdoor Classroom for one introduction and four seasonal grade level rotations. During each rotation, the students participate in a standards based learning experience that includes an artfully prepared chalkboard lesson summary, interactive lecture and discussion, hands-on activity and a seasonal tasting.
In order to engage a larger part of the Silver Spur community, the Green Team “Eco-Hero” leadership participates in many other programs and activities. The lunchtime Recycle Ranger program is a student-led effort, where students oversee trash pick-up and sorting for campus recycling, support waste-free lunch packing awareness and compost vegetable and fruit scraps for the school garden. Older Recycle Rangers mentor the younger ones in hopes that each year a new crop of environmental leaders will emerge to oversee the program. This program gives students a chance to develop ownership of their place and helps foster the desire become environmentally responsible for where they live and learn. The Outdoor Classroom also hosts a Garden Club, offering students a place to spend their lunchtime recess with meaningful tasks that help maintain and sustain the school garden health and beauty. All students are welcome to participate. You will see also see the Green Team involvement at the Spring Carnival, Earth Day celebrations, Write Week, Yellow Ribbon Week, Red Ribbon Week, seasonal plant sales and student Farmers Markets.
The school garden program is supported by our students, parents, teachers, administrators, district leadership, community businesses and nonprofits, the Silver Spur PTA and many wonderful volunteers who donate their time and energy.
Since its inception many years ago, the Silver Spur garden program has continued to grow and become a leader in edible education and community involvement. We are very proud to have such an amazing place on our campus.