A Story of… A Passion for the Outdoors, Science & Nature

Meet John Price, Dougherty Elementary's Outdoor Enthusiast
Rich Boschetti, DPIE Academy Director
November 7, 2019
Mr John Price

Mr John Price, Dougherty Elementary Teacher

Dougherty Elementary's 4th grade teacher, Mr. John Price has a love of the outdoors and nature and that passion is what inspired him to introduce his “Life Science in the Garden” course to Dougherty students four years ago, as part of the DPIE After School Program and he’s been having fun with the class ever since.

Loving the outdoors comes in Mr. Price’s DNA as he was born and raised in Colfax, California known as the “Gateway to the Sierras” and is located just outside of the Tahoe Forest. Mr. Price explained that, “being outdoors has always been a part of my life, whether it’s been hiking, camping, fishing or gardening, these are all activities that I’ve loved from the time I was a young man.”

Mr. Price attended Cal State University at Chico where he met his wife Sayuri. They live in Dublin and have two sons.  When asked about the robust and large garden at Dougherty Elementary, Mr. Price said, “Starting the school garden has been one of the highlights of my teaching career. I noticed right away when I started working at Dougherty that we didn’t have the type of wild space students need to learn about Life Science.”

What excites you about teaching your Life Science in the Garden Class and how do you keep it fresh from session to session and year to year?

Once the garden was up and running at Dougherty, students began asking about how they could get more time to work in the garden and frankly, that is what drove me to teach the “Life Science in the Garden” series of classes. I always choose to focus on different themes for each session and we focus our studies in those areas.  One session may focus on “The Power of Soil,” another on “Plant Reproduction and Seeds,” another on “The Need for Water,” “The Impact of Insects” and we go on from there.

I try to always choose topics that help me learn more about the space we have created and what better way for kids to learn, than doing hands-on activities in the outdoors.

What kind of things will kids be doing and learning in your class?

Each session is different, but students have learned a range of topics in the classes. I usually start off with a basic gardening and life science class - soil, seeds, insects, plant parts are a few of the topics. Other classes have been nature journaling, creating art in the garden, learning the importance of composting and learning how to turn scrap waste into plant food. We have even built items such as worm bins and water features in our classes.  Of course, students have the chance to plant seeds, watch them grow and make journal entry observations about plant growth. We really are developing some young botanists and a love of nature in this class.

At the end of your classes, what are you hoping that kids will take away and use in the future and can a student take your class more than once?

Yes, kids can take my class over and over again as we are constantly covering new topics and material, we are always learning.  My hope is that kids will enjoy what they are doing so much, that they won’t really even think of this as a class, but rather something they enjoy doing.

Some of the biggest ideas I want students to take away from my classes are to be curious, use their skills of observation, and have a respect for nature. I find that students enjoy being outdoors, and I just try to provide the opportunity for them to explore nature, ask and answer their curious questions and learn about the world around them. Best of all, we have fun while we learn.

This is the 4th year that DPIE has offered After School STEAM Elementary courses in Dublin and Mr. Price has offered his ever-popular course in every session with great success. The feedback we receive from parents about his classes is amazing.  We encourage you to read his course description for his winter class and consider enrolling your child in his Life Science in the Garden course.