Garden-Based Education Docent - Palo Alto


Cause Areas


It's flexible! We'll work with your schedule.


Duveneck and Hoover Elementary SchoolsHays and Nixon Elementary SchoolsEl Carmelo and Fairmeadow Elementary SchoolsPalo Alto, CA 94306


Living Classroom is seeking volunteers who are excited about sharing their love of nature with children through teaching our school garden-based lessons. The volunteers, once trained, become official Living Classroom docents and they lead and assist lessons from Kindergarten through 5th grade in 6 public schools in Palo Alto. Opportunities for docents are also available in Mountain View and Los Altos public schools. Lesson topics range from an introduction to photosynthesis and decomposition to local ecology and biodiversity to setting up plant experiments to learn about the impact of soil or light quality on plant growth. Some lessons involve planting and harvesting edibles including a Three Sisters Native American garden, winter wheat turned into pretzels, and winter veggies used to make soup after harvest. Most lessons focus on life science topics but many integrate social studies, math, and nutrition.

Docents can pick grades, lesson topics or schools they wish to teach in so that each docent can focus on those lessons or student age range they are most comfortable with and enjoy most.

We hold three seasonal training sessions each school year on Monday mornings lasting for 5 weeks in the fall, and 4 weeks in the winter and spring. Volunteers who are not able to attend the Monday morning training can learn "apprenticeship" style by observing and then assisting with lessons. Docents must be available for at least four hours per month, sufficient to teach two lessons per month, including transportation, set up and clean up time, during the 8:15 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. school day when all of our lessons are taught.


  • Math / Science Instruction
  • Teaching / Instruction
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Botany
  • Environmental Education
  • Gardening

Good Match For


Requirements & Commitment

  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 18
  • Orientation or Training
  • Minimum of 4 hours per month
  • Able to travel to school sites and sometimes pick up lesson kits. Good command of English.

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