Garden After School

An extension of our popular Garden Camp program, Garden After School provides engaging, all-outdoor afternoon activities for children in grades K-5.

The Garden After School aims to foster and support a lifelong love of learning and nature and provide a nurturing, safe setting for positive social-emotional development with peers in nature. Garden After School connects children to plants through a combination of structured, themed activities and open-ended time to develop curiosity, initiative, imagination, and creativity.

Activities revolve around four main themes; gardening, art, wellness, and ecology. Garden After School is now enrolling for the Fall 2024 semester. Now offering optional Extended Care until 5:30pm.

Enroll for Fall 2024

Fall Garden After School Upcoming Session

Fall Semester 2024

Dates: August 19 – December 20
Regular Hours: 2pm-5pm

Wednesday Hours: 1pm-5pm
Drop-off window: 2:00-2:45pm
Wednesday Drop-off: 1:00-1:30pm
Pick-up window: 4:45-5:05pm

Extended Care Ends: 5:30pm

Readily Available Plans

5 Day (M-F)
3 Day (MWF or TWT)
2 Day (Tu/Th or Wednesday+)

None of these plans work for you? We’re flexible! Email to figure out your personalized flexible schedule, or to join us by the month. Payment plans available for all sessions!


Hands-on Gardening

Students in our Garden After School program love to get their hands dirty! During our frequent trips to the Children’s Garden, our students plant and tend to seeds, help pull weeds and mulch, and sometimes even sample the treats that we’ve grown! Our Children’s Garden educators lead lessons for our students based on their grade – even letting students decide what projects they’re most excited to work on!

Creative Free Play

After a long day in school, we know just how important it is for some free time! In Garden After School, our creativity is fueled by how we immerse ourselves in nature. We love making up our own games, building in the Fort Forest and the Mud Kitchen, and exploring our favorite gardens.

Nature Journaling

We routinely spend time throughout the semester practicing nature journaling with our students. Nature journaling helps us slow down and observe our surroundings, allowing us to practice mindfulness while still engaging with the Garden. There’s no wrong way for us to study our surroundings!

Local Field Trips

Throughout the semester our students take trips to some nearby places within walking distance. Last semester we visited Stow Lake, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, rode the SkyStar Wheel, and played at Mother’s Meadow. Next semester we plan to do some of the same, and more!

And so much more!

Our Garden Guardians always find something to do! Between pond studies, playing marbles in the Redwood Grove, crafting clay pollinators, exploring the Children’s Garden, enjoying Banana Tag, making leaf boats…it’s hard to say what your student’s favorite part will be.

Additional Information

Holidays & No Program

The program will follow SFUSD’s school calendar and will not meet on the following dates in the Fall 2024 semester:

  • Monday, September 2
  • Monday, October 14
  • Monday, November 11
  • November 25 through November 29

Walking School Bus Jefferson Elementary School

We will be providing a Walking School Bus (WSB) from Jefferson ES. Our WSB is staffed by at least 2 Garden Camp counselors who maintain a safe route and wear neon safety vests to make themselves more visible. More information, including route, will be shared with participants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rain forecasted for more than 50% of the program time will result in a cancelled day. Rain forecasted for less than 50% of the program time may result in a shortened program time. Oftentimes, these decisions to shorten or cancel program are made the day-of, with notification going to caregivers at 10am. We cross-reference forecasts to make an informed decision.

Similar to rain, the program time may be reduced or cancelled in the event of high AQI. AQI of 100 or over will cancel program for child and staff safety.

We do have indoor space that we use sparingly, especially in the pandemic, but strive not to cancel program. If we are able to rotate between outdoor and indoor time during times of poor weather or air quality, we will do so.

While we feel that students get the most beneficial experience out of a 3-day program, our Wednesday+ option is our 2 day option for families. As Wednesdays are our most popular days for program, the Wednesday+ option allows you to send your student on Wednesdays, as well as on one other day during the week. This day can stay the same for the semester or rotate as needed. Contact us at for more information!

Yes! Garden Members are able to register at a discounted rate.

Pick-up and drop-off take place on MLK Jr. Drive just through the Garden’s Main Gate, to the right, before passing the bookstore (see map here). There is no rolling drop-off for the program; please walk your child in for check-in. Please note that MLK Jr. Drive is a busy street – please use cross walks with your children.

At drop-off, parents/guardians will be required to share the name of the adult/s picking up their child or confirm the name that we have on our list. During pick-up, we will be checking IDs. Thank you for your patience as we provide the utmost safety for our participants.
More information will be included in program confirmation emails.

Quiet, independent homework time will be part of our program schedule. This will occur outdoors, like the rest of the program. We do not have the ability to support computer-based work.

Scholarship funds are generated, in part, by donations made at time of purchase by other participating families. We hope to be able to offer partial scholarships to limited qualifying applicants as funds come in through donations. Please contact to request a Garden After School Program Scholarship Application.

Within 24 hours of your registration, 100% refund is available. After 24 hours, cancellations made until one week prior to your camp start date qualify for an 80% refund. Cancellations made mid-semester will be evaluated on a case-by-case situation but is not guaranteed: we strive to work with families as best we can and may be able to offer up to a 40% refund. Payment plans and total already paid will also be taken into consideration.

This refund policy holds for instances of illness or family emergencies. Cancellations must be requested in writing via email. The date stamp on the email will serve as the time marker for your request and will establish potential refund, if any.

Not a problem! So long as you communicate this early pick-up need to camp staff (either at drop-off, or via email), we are able to accomodate and will bring your student to the regular pick-up zone for their early retrieval.

We understand that families’ needs may change, however, in order to offer this service we need to follow our refund policy. The Garden supports children participating in scheduled school time; the ASP is not a substitute for formal education and we do not recommend using it as such.

We currently hold a 1:4 ratio, and never exceed 1:6.

This school year, with significantly different start and end times presented challenges to offering program times. At this time we are unable to charge by the hour such that we can be flexible to all students’ schedules. Please reach out with any questions—we are able to meet students for drop-off at any time.