Immerse your class in the magical world of a garden where experience-based learning creates connections through gardening, play, the inspiration of story and the child’s imagination. Each program is led by a Royal Botanic Gardens primary teacher and can be adapted to suit individual group needs.
The following programs incorporate AusVELS. They provide an excellent means of teaching across the Domains in an integrated way.
All programs 1 hour and 45 minutes in duration.
10.15am to 12noon
12.30pm to 2.15pm
Program prices (domestic)
$11.90 per student (includ. GST)
$214.20 per class, for small groups (Minimum Charge)
Teachers / Adults free
Bookings and information
Melbourne bookings and information
T 03 9252 2358
Cranbourne bookings and information
T 03 5990 2200
Circle of Life School Program - New Program
Melbourne Gardens is an extraordinary location to observe birdlife and discuss the precious nature of wetland habitat. Students consider the literary and artistic technique used by Jeannie Baker, consider how to create or support bird habitat, learn observation skills and engage with the Circle exhibition and landscape through imaginary and artistic responses.
When: 16 March to 14 May, Monday to Friday
Times: 10.15am to 12noon and 12.30 to 2pm
Where: Observatory House
Cost: $11.90 (Group minimum 18)
Bookings: 03 9252 2358
Health and Wellbeing in Nature
Health and wellbeing is interconnected with time spent in natural environments. Being in nature reduces anger, fear, anxiety and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
In this specially developed new program, students are invited to explore the physical, mental and emotional benefits of spending time outside. Participants will brainstorm and discuss the role of healthy foods, physical exercise and spending time outside in cultivating health and wellbeing. Through practice of mindfulness exercises, participants will learn to nurture their own self-awareness and greater awareness of others and the natural world.
Climate change is a global challenge impacting all countries but in different ways. This program explores some of the social justice issues raised by climate change and some of the opportunities to make the world a more interesting and a better place. Find out what students in East Timor are doing to improve their lives and how you might help. Discover the carbon cycle and how plants can help moderate climate change.
Students will measure the carbon storage capacity of different tree species and use technology to determine carbon dioxide emissions and also assess the importance of trees in an urban landscape.
Landscapes for Learning
Are you planning a garden or play space at your school?
Do you want the students to be an integral part of the design and implementation process?
Through the exploration of the plants and landscapes of the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, students discover how to develop an outdoor play and learning space that can be centred around imaginative play.
During their visit they will explore cubby building, imaginative play with natural materials, the sensory world of plants, real work in the garden, plant selection and how these can be incorporated into their own their own school environment.
Students will take home a seedling or propagated plant to contribute to their garden space.
Connecting to Country
Connecting to Country is designed to give students a greater understanding and respect for Aboriginal culture, particularly of the local Koolin. Students will understand the significance of Waa (the raven) and Birrarung (Yarra River). Experiences include making and using ochre paint, string making and a hands-on exploration of tools. The emphasis is on diversity and examining sustainable land practices used by Aboriginal people. (This program is also offered as a full day itinerary including a visit to the Koorie Heritage Trust, where students can discover the richness and diversity of South-Eastern Indigenous culture through a showcase of art, artefacts, maps and cultural interpretation.
- Teachers Kit (MS Word -2.045 MB)
- Program Snapshot (MS Word - 108 kB)
- VELS Program Guide (MS Word - 59 kB)
- Koorie Heritage Trust program
Introduction to the Gardens
- Teachers Kit (PDF - 567 kB)
- Program Snapshot (MS Word - 921 kB)
- VELS Program Guide (MS Word - 48 kB)
The Magic Garden
With a sense of adventure and weaving their own magic, children meet the plants that live in the garden and find out what they have to say! Students create crowns with plant material collected in the Children’s Garden and make pot pourri in the Herb Garden. A sensory focused exploration of the Gardens.
This arts-based program gives students opportunities to respond to inspiring environments and garden experiences creatively, cooperatively and imaginatively. Students create group collages from plant materials, explore cycles and spirals in nature and create leaf rubbings.
This program examines the vital resource of water and how the Royal Botanic Gardens uses water saving and water quality improvement strategies. The program also explores how to create sustainable habitats for indigenous plant and animal communities in a suburban environment. Students will participate in a variety of activities including ponding for fresh water invertebrates, observations of wildlife habitats and developing ideas for future sustainable resource use.
Nonno's Garden Italian Program
The Italian LOTE program has been designed to introduce to students the important relationships between plants and people in everyday life in Italy. The program focuses on Italian herbs and vegetables, how they’re grown in Nonno’s garden and put to use in Nonna’s kitchen, and herbal remedies. Relevant Italian words are incorporated throughout the program. Activities include working in the kitchen garden and propagating a food plant to grow back at school.
- Teachers kit (MS Word - 557 kB)
- Finger puppets (PDF - 383 kB)
- Slideshow (PDF - 2.98 MB), (MS PowerPoint - 2.65 MB)
- Classroom activities - Beginners (PDF - 6.10 MB)
- Classroom activities - Intermediate (PDF - 1.78 MB)
- Extension activities - Beginners (PDF - 110 kB)
- Extension activities - Intermediate (PDF - 356 kB)
- Storybook (PDF - 2.78 MB)
- Storybook activity (PDF - 17.9 MB)
Where the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeannie Baker
Share the story and rediscover its secrets. Discover the amazing plants of the Australian rainforest and how Aboriginal people used the rainforest. Find out how plants and animals interact, and collect garden treasures to make a landscape collage.
- VELS Program Guide (MS Word - 132 kB)
- Literature in the Gardens VELS program Guide (MS Word - 74 kB)
Experience a rainforest in the centre of Melbourne! Within the Gardens there is a huge diversity of rainforest plants from Australia and around the world. Students will explore rainforest structure and ecology and the importance of rainforest conservation. Students make forest animals from plant materials.
Biodiversity on the Yarra (Prep–6)
Where in Melbourne would you go to see spoonbills and night herons feeding at the billabong, eels and long-necked tortoises swimming in a wetland or even powerful owls and a reed warbler? As you walk through this re-vegetated area you will be able to observe some of the interrelationships between the indigenous flora and fauna using binoculars to explore life cycles and food chains. Students propagate an indigenous plant to take back to school.
Water, Plants, Life – Explore Guilfoyle’s Volcano (Years 3–6)
Water and plants are vital for life on earth, especially now with increasing population and a changing climate. This program looks at the interrelationship of these two important elements, and how people can grow more plants with less water. Students will do hands-on activities involving handling different types of soil and propagating a water conservation plant.
This program provides students with the chance to observe minibeasts in different habitats and explore their connection to the plant world. Investigate a worm farm, explore a water habitat and hunt with a magnifying glass in the leaf litter of the Gardens. Activities include taking a closer look at the role of minibeasts in soil and making a minibeast repellent pot pourri to take home. (This program is also offered as a full day itinerary with a screening of Bugs: Mighty Micro Monsters at IMAX) This unique film takes you on a tour of the bustling world beneath your feet to meet the true rulers of Planet Earth. From the Kenyan savannah to the tropical rainforests of North East Australia, the superpowers of these mighty micro monsters are revealed. (Please book and pay with each venue separately.)
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Education
T 03 9252 2358
T 03 9663 0200
This program makes hands-on and sensory connections between food and plants, giving students the opportunity to observe carnivores and herbivores, and understand nutrient cycles and food chains. Exploring the harvest of the Kitchen Garden, students make connections between plants, healthy diets, organic and sustainable gardening. Activities include propagating a food plant to grow at school, exploring culinary herbs in the Herb Garden and finding out what worms eat.
The basic skills of good gardening practice are taught during this hands-on program that includes water conservation, organic gardening methods, composting and worm farming. While exploring the Children’s Garden and the wider Botanic Gardens, students will consider ideas for designing or developing their own garden. Activities include the propagation of a plant to take home.
Climate change is now accepted as a reality that we have to address globally. Find out what it means for us and what we can do about it. Take home a drought-tolerant carbon-fixing plant, and find out how to creatively manage and store water while reflecting on the bigger picture solutions.
Contribute to a national science program that helps inform Australia’s response to climate change. Walk the ClimateWatch trail and observe the plants and animals that are most sensitive to future climate change. Record what you see using the free ClimateWatch smartphone app, or on recording sheets available from the Visitor Centre.
Request a booking
Christmas at the Gardens
Experience the beauty of the Christmas season in the Royal Botanic Gardens. Discover the plants that are the symbols of Christmas. Students will make a Christmas pot pourri in the herb garden and a Christmas decoration using plant materials.
Explore the structure and function of plants and investigate amazing adaptations from a variety of ecosystems. Students look at plants under microscopes, pot a seedling and visit the Tropical Hot House and the Herb Garden.
Plants and Animals
The focus of this program is the fascinating plant and animal interrelationships that exist in garden environments. Students will look closely at soil, make their own creature from plant materials, and visit the Tropical Hot House to meet carnivorous plants.
Water Conservation using Graeme Base’s The Waterhole
Why is water so important? Children will make the vital connection between water and life on earth, looking closely at life in and around a billabong. Learn about and propagate a water conservation plant, examine pond life and look at plants from around the world that feature in Graeme Base's book. Students will collect plant material to create a collage at school.
The Paradise Garden by Colin Thompson
Why are plants so important in our lives? Through this beautiful book children will consider plants as homes, as food and explore their fun and fantasy elements. Children will explore plant and animal connections and the role of botanic gardens as habitat for wildlife in cities. Activities include propagation, art and building with bamboo.
Belonging by Jeannie Baker
By growing healthy gardens for ourselves we can also grow gardens for other living things. Discover the delights of growing your own green space and the importance of green spaces in cities. Gardens are also a great way to grow friendships! Experiences include story reading, cubby making, vegetable potting and exploring.
Ayo ke Kebun Raya Indonesian Program
A visit to the Gardens provides a stimulating learning context that extends beyond the classroom and is designed to engage students' interest through active involvement. Activities include exploring the many qualities of bamboo, potting a herb to take home, and tasting lemongrass or ginger tea.
Mille Feuille French program
Explore the sensory delights of herbs and explore the role they play in French cooking and perfume, looking at potpourri, tisanes, and bouquet garni. Propagate the beginnings of your own French garden and see what's ready to be harvested in the potager! See what inspired the French Impressionists and try your hand at painting en plein air.
Other Melbourne activities
- Stroll down to the lake and visit the swans and the eels.
- Visit the rainforest habitat in the Fern Gully and discover the rainforest plants and animals that live there.
- Journey up to the Temple of the Winds and take in the breath taking views.
- Take in the peace and serenity of the Gardens and find a shady tree to relax under.
- 50 things for kids to do (PDF - 1.82 kB)