Growing Outdoor Classrooms Program

boy with wheelbarrow

In 2012, the GROW Coalition launched its first major project in partnership with the Madison Metropolitan School District. The GROW Pilot Project is a three-year, $350,000 initiative to incorporate garden-based learning into K-8 science curricula in Madison and Dane County schools. The Madison Community Foundation and US EPA funded this project.

The goals of the project are to:

  1. Build or expand outdoor classrooms.
  2. Increase student academic achievement.
  3. Engage the community.

In October, 2012, five schools were awarded grants to participate in the project. They include Lake View, Lincoln and Muir elementary schools, and Toki and Spring Harbor middle schools.

In September, 2013, five additional schools were awarded grants. They include Orchard Ridge Elementary School, Lapham Elementary School, Sherman Middle School, Marshall Early Learning Center (Marshall), and Prairie Elementary School (Waunakee).

In June, 2014, the final five schools were awarded grants. The schools include Allis, Hawthorne, Sandburg, Thoreau and Van Hise Elementary Schools. 

School teams consist of each school’s principal, two to three teachers, and at least two parents or community members. Teams participate in a professional learning community, both contributing and taking away ideas to test in their school gardens. School teams involve youth and families in garden design and build.

Read the reports to find the program highlights and outcomes from this innovative grant!

Madison GROW Coalition

For more information about the initiative, contact Ashleigh.