Garden Docent Program
About the MMCA School Garden and Outdoor Classroom
The Maria Montessori Charter Academy organic garden and outdoor classroom is a 1/4 acre plot of land used to give students firsthand growing experience, in the hope that they will gain a solid understanding of where food really comes from and how natural ecosystems may be balanced. Students enjoy healthy physical activity and get the chance to personally grow & taste their own freshly harvested produce. We welcome parents and interested community members, such as Master Gardeners, to come out and work alongside our Garden Docents, enjoying some fresh air and the garden's bounty with the children.
In 2008, when Maria Montessori Charter Academy moved to its permanent home in Rocklin, one of the first new programs created was the garden and outdoor classroom. Our neighbors, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, graciously allowed us to use a portion of their land for our garden in exchange for access to the beautiful space we'd planned. Our ultimate goal was to create an outdoor classroom and discovery lab in which students could learn about nature, sustainability, and life cycles. Getting the kids outside and into the dirt & fresh air was essential!
Today, the outdoor classroom has grown to include a 1/4 acre garden with perennial vegetables; native plants & succulents; fruit trees, vines, and patches; 10 annual planting boxes; herb gardens; a small seasonal pumpkin patch; multiple types of compost bins; an outdoor stage & small seating area; a storage & indoor-growing barn; and a very successful garden docent program. We aim for environmental sustainability by creating usable soil by composting (including utilizing students' lunch waste), keeping all produce and soil organic, and practicing seed saving. All of this work has been, and continues to be, accomplished solely through volunteer labor, donations, and fundraising.
Mission of our Garden and Outdoor Classroom
To connect students with the natural world through our garden and outdoor classroom.
To engage students with the seasonal rhythms of cultivating, growing, harvesting, and sharing organic crops appropriate to each season of the year.
To awaken the students to the value and power of organic, self-regulating natural systems.
To provide students with the tools and knowledge to become skilled gardeners,
self-reliant citizens, and responsible stewards of the Earth.
To introduce students to agricultural practices, plant varieties, and cuisine from different cultures around the world.
We Need YOU!
Our garden depends on donations and helping hands to keep it growing for our students. Please see our wish list for more details. We could use:
Donations of garden tools, seeds, soil, &/or bark
Garden Docents to work with students & teachers
Skilled labor to construct a drinking fountain &/or do hardscaping
Assistance with our farm-to-fork efforts (chef level planning of both menu and planting plans)
Grant writers & fundraisers - find your own projects or let us guide you
Our volunteers are an integral part of the success of our garden. Garden Docents take small groups of children out into the garden on chosen dates, to provide pre-planned lessons and/or plant/harvest produce together. We welcome new & returning docents each school year. If you enjoy being outdoors with your child, this is the opportunity for you! Getting the kids outdoors is so valuable to them, and getting to see them explore the wonders of the garden is incredibly rewarding! Our docents open the doors to a whole new world for our students and teach them to care for our Earth. Training is provided, so no prior gardening or group activity experience is required. Docent lessons are typically one hour in length, 1 to 2 times per month, on a scheduled to be arranged between the teachers & the docent(s).
For more information or further help, please contact our Garden Coordinator Alison Watkins.
Garden Heroes and Sponsors
We could not do this without you, our generous volunteers & donors! You are the seeds of growth, the hands that make light work, the hearts and minds that saw potential in a little patch of land. Every contribution - great and small - has transformed this space into our wonderful garden for learning and exploring! Thank you for being our Garden Heroes!
Thank you for your most-generous gift of loaned land, both present and future. The current land is incorporated into our outdoor classroom and we hope to partner up and expand the garden space to include full farm type crop plantings for all to share.
Our very own Green Room teacher had the initial vision for our special place. She, along with our Principal, Mr. Boothby, created the plan and started the dream. Ms. Proett has spent many, many hours in the dirt and behind the scenes planning everything from lessons to meetings to fundraisers.
The Garden Leadership Team
This group of folks may have started small, but they have been the force behind the garden since its inception. Eternal thanks go to Petsy Proett, Heather Martin, and Candace Gerard, who have gone above & beyond their donations of time and materials to also give their hearts to this garden. They each have worked tirelessly to keep the garden growing & thriving for our school community - building, creating, and getting their own hands plenty dirty! The leadership team welcomes anyone who is willing to help coordinate, plan, and/or fundraise for the garden.
Teachers, Community Members, & Families
A special thanks to EVERYONE that has stopped by to put in the much-needed effort (and maybe even break a sweat) on a Garden Workday. Without your help, we wouldn't be where we are today!