Cultivating Knowledge in the School Garden: New Ways of Teaching Literacy to ESL Students

Michele DuRivage, SIT Graduate Institute


My thesis project includes a combination of materials development and classroom-based research. In my paper, I explore existing garden-related curricula, and create original garden-based lesson plans to teach literacy to fourth grade ESL students. This curriculum development project contributes to the field of ESL in its innovative garden-based pedagogy. The field study took place during the spring semester of 2009 at Increase Miller Elementary School in Westchester County, New York. Using nature as inspiration for writing descriptive essays and poetry, the ESL students at Increase Miller produced imaginative writing pieces, using their own voices to express their thoughts. The students’ body of work represents a growth in their literacy skills, embracing the garden as fertile ground for teaching.