The Garden at Mockingbird Elementary


The Garden at Mockingbird Elementary began over 20 years ago with a simple goal: use a garden to teach children about the life cycle of plants. Today, it has evolved into a 22,000 square-foot garden—a welcome escape to nature in such an urban neighborhood.


This outdoor living classroom is a rare, immersive learning resource in the heart of East Dallas that is utilized by students in kindergarten through 5th grade. It is a key educational tool, helping teach science hands on through experiments and observation of the diverse ecosystem. It also connects children to nature and helps them grow as learners. All students regularly attend garden class.


The Garden at Mockingbird is supported exclusively by our PTA and receives no funding from our school district. On average, the cost to fund the garden is $100 per student each year. But this is not enough, and community members, parents, and faculty also pitch in, making it truly a community garden. We could not be successful without the organized community workdays, high school service leagues, and other volunteer organizations that continuously help in the garden.


This program has become a fixture in the experience of all students and a differentiator for our school. (We even give tours to other schools in the area so that they can learn how to replicate what we are doing at their schools.) As a testament to how special this program is, Mockingbird was selected to be a part of the National Wildlife Federation's Monarch Heroes program, which is a two-year, project-based learning program that engages and empowers students and community members to create schoolyard habitats in support of both the monarch butterfly and outdoor learning. 


Garden map:





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