About our garden

We’ve built a school garden!

Yesirree, the kids have planted veggies, herbs, flowers (annuals & perennials), and have had a darned good time doing it.

What’s more, they’ll come back in the fall and EAT what they have GROWN!

All summer, students enrolled in MSCR after-school at Van Hise will garden, too.

All from the neighborhood are welcome! Join us!

About Van Hise Elementary

Can you say long, flat, mid-century boxy, sea green school? Can you say LOTS OF LAWN? Each day, more than 360 K-5 graders come bouncing in, ready to learn and grow and sing and learn some more.

We’re on the near West Side of Madison, Wisconsin, and lots of our kids walk or bike to school. Van Hise is distinctly a neighborhood school, and our next-door neighbor, Velma-Hamilton Middle School, is attached to us by a hallway. Hamilton sees more than 700 middle schoolers every day. Don’t think we’re not planning to include them…slowly but surely, we’ll get inter-age learning going on in the garden…

Van Hise Gardens will kick off taking some small but significant steps this spring. We hope you can join us! We welcome your ideas, comments and shovels.


  1. Improve students’ knowledge, skills and comfort level in making healthy food choices
  2. Increase students’ awareness of and skills for environmental stewardship.
  3. Increase students’ understanding of the significance of food consumption choices in our communities and across cultures.
  4. Provide opportunities for children and families who may not otherwise learn about gardening or where their food comes from to grow and eat their own produce.
  5. Design activities and infrastructure to foster truly inclusive education, where all children benefit from integrated learning in a sensory-rich environment.
  6. Involve a cross-section of the community as learners, teachers, contributors and mentors.

Guiding principles:

  • Children take the lead as much as possible.
  • Don’t add burden to teachers and staff. Instead, open up opportunities.
  • Use inter-generational, inter-age learning. Bring in the community.
  • Foster cooperation, not competition.
  • Involve parents and families who aren’t typically involved.
  • Capitalize on existing resources, at school and locally.
  • Use the garden to integrate the curriculum.



One thought on “About our garden

  1. Pingback: Welcome! « Van Hise Gardens

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