The ISP Garden


Outside the Hilltop building on the International School of Portland’s campus is a beautiful place for students to engage in hands on learning. ISP students delight in planting vegetables and flowers, growing cover crops, playing with worms, and discovering other forms of life from the outside world. Throughout the year, Garden Manager Priscilla Lane (a volunteer parent of a ISP alumna) coordinates with teachers and directs a program that educates students about the world of growing.

The school garden is a powerful tool for promoting science education, engaging students in healthy behaviors and maintaining a connection to nature. As a living laboratory for studying soil, bugs, and plant growth, the ISP garden program also teaches lessons in teamwork, responsibility, and the results of careful nurturing.

IB Curriculum and the ISP Garden

The garden provides a natural laboratory for IB themes How the World Works, Sharing the Planet, and How We Organize Ourselves. In the spring, PreK students handle worms from a compost bin and plant beans. The next fall as LowK students, they harvest the beans and make soup. Kindergarten and first graders continue with planting and harvesting seeds and bulbs. The second graders study insects and relations to the life cycle, and fifth graders learn about plant propagation.

“The children are excited about the food they grow,” Priscilla says. “We do a lot of tasting and talking about the plants in English and in the immersion language.”

The Garden and Summer Camp

Learning in the garden does not stop when school ends – Gardening is offered as part of our extended day enrichment programming, and  ISP summer campers and volunteers work hard in the garden all summer! Campers may plant vegetables (which are harvested in the fall), decorate the garden, and learn about bugs and other garden wildlife.

We are always looking for parents to be summer garden volunteers! If you are interested in helping water the garden and/or in leading garden activities with campers, please contact the summer camp office (

Visit our summer camp website for more information about summer camp!