Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Professional Development Workshops provide educators with skills, knowledge and experiences necessary to enhance curriculum through nature-based learning. Educators will explore effective teaching techniques for inquiry-based learning and gain ideas for hands-on connections to Standards of Learning and Virginia Foundation Blocks for Early Learning. Workshops are offered at the Garden or at your school.

Using the School Grounds as a Classroom

Topics include:

Nature-Based Learning: Engaging Infants& Toddlers in the Natural World
Do you find it challenging to implement nature-based activities for infants and toddlers that are developmentally appropriate? Experience first-hand how nature-based and play-based learning can inspire infants and toddlers to explore all their senses. This professional development workshop will identify in practical ways that infants and toddlers can benefit from exploratory learning in natural environments. Participants will leave with tips, resources, ideas and strategies to maximize outdoor learning opportunities for infants and toddlers.

Take Learning Outdoors: Where the Wild Things Are | Pre K – K
Cultivate your student’s imaginations while seamlessly integrating early STEAM concepts and literacy skills into authentic outdoor experiences.

Outdoors in All Seasons: Options: Weather, Birds or Trees | Pre K – 3rd
Explore the plants and animals in your schoolyard through multidisciplinary activities, experiments, art, and literature connections.

Sticks, Stones and Pinecones | Pre K – 3rd
This workshop is for educators who are curious about loose parts and loose parts play. Learn how to use loose parts to promote STEAM concepts, enhance play, and empower children to be creative.

First Peas to the Table | 1st – 3rd
The “First Peas to the Table” is based on Thomas Jefferson’s annual contest with his neighbors to plant peas and compete to be the first to harvest. Learn how to use this contest with your students as a springboard for a cross-curricular investigation into what plants need to grow and thrive. While observing and measuring plant growth and change, the function of each plant part comes to life, culminating in a pea party!

Growing Mr. McGregor’s Garden | 1st – 3rd
Based on Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit; challenge your students to solve the garden mystery: What vegetables has Mr. McGregor planted this spring? Use your senses to compare and contrast plant parts while inferring what is growing in the garden, plant a rainbow of vegetable seeds, use mapping skills to help Peter get out of his predicament, and design a way to keep pesky critters out of the garden!

Inquiry-Based Investigations in the Schoolyard | 1st – 3rd
Learn how to design and lead your students through open-ended inquiry science investigations using your schoolyard sidewalk, lawn and trees.

Contact Laura Lee Folman at to discuss your professional developmental needs.