Spring 2018


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Laura Halldin

Content Expert

Danielle Proulx


The research question for this project was, how does interacting with a school garden-based curriculum promote more effective language development for English Language Learner (ELL) students? The goal of this project was to design a language-focused curriculum for ELL students to be delivered through the hands-on learning that happens in a school garden. Bringing research from experts in ELL together with studies focused on science and outdoor education, eight best practices were unearthed from the research that guided the development of the project. The best practices included: using additional instructional supports, combining strategies for maximum impact, embedding language instruction and creating more opportunities for language use through WIDA’s four language domains, motivating students through valuing the home language and culture, using multiple modes of instruction, including multisensory and authentic experiences through the natural inquiry that happens in the garden, and finally incorporating project-based, service, and cooperative learning models. The findings showed that a garden- based education can indeed accomplish the effective language development desired. Research showed that student academics improve as a result of interaction with an ongoing garden experience, and ELLs can reap the benefits exponentially when the highlighted strategies are put to use. These methods were then dispersed throughout a seven-unit school garden-based curriculum intended to be delivered once a week during the school year.

Project Type



At-risk Students, Curriculum, ESL/ ELLs, Outdoor Education

Included in

Education Commons