Best Practices for Pre-K Gardens

We surveyed 53 grant recipient preschools and child care centers to find out their best practices for student participation in the garden.

On average each school had about 64 students participation in the garden regularly. 72% of our survey participants regularly meet 3 or more days per week. The remaining 28% reported that students frequented the garden 2 or less times per week.


How was the garden used?

  • 100% used the garden to discuss nutrition and benefits of eating fruits and vegetables
  • 47% used the garden to supplement meals/snack and tastes tests
  • 38% used the produce for cooking activities
  • 6% used the garden to involve students' families in discussions about nutrition
  • 2% took students on field trips to local farmers markets and grocery store to show where they can buy fresh produce
  • 2% taught students how to re-grow using scraps

What did you grow?


What did they like to eat?

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Strawberries
  3. Lettuce
  4. Carrots
  5. Cucumbers

Tell us about your volunteers...

Most of the schools (83%) reported being able to recruit volunteers to help in the garden. The question is... how did you get volunteers?

  1. Scheduled work days - often on the weekend
  2. School newsletter invitation to help or donate materials
  3. Recruited high school or college students in lieu of class credits/internship
  4. Partnered with our local Master Gardeners or Americorps

How did you maintain the garden during weekends, school breaks or summer?

  • 34% used drip irrigation systems or automatic timers for watering
  • 26% had staff to visit campus during off days
  • 25% had year-round programs
  • 15% had parents or volunteers visit campus during off days