Children’s Education

Children’s Education

Cultivating young scientists through hands-on exploration in Boston’s landscape for learning


School Programs

To help fulfill its educational mission, the Arnold Arboretum offers nature programs with a focus on plant science to Boston Public School children and their teachers. It also conducts an annual horticultural practicum for students from Norfolk County Agricultural High School.

The Field Study Experiences began at the Arboretum in 1984 in response to a request to local museums from Boston Public Schools for help with science instruction. This need continues today as science remains an important element in the overall education of elementary school students.

Through its unique relationship with the City of Boston, the Arboretum has been increasingly committed to improving local science education. Field Study Experiences emphasize depth over breadth, and consequently field study programs are offered to approximately 2,500 students annually for children in the Boston Public Schools. In a small group setting that emphasizes inquiry and hands-on learning, students receive increased attention with a well-trained volunteer as their guide through the landscape.

For more information, call 617.384.5239 or send a query by email.


Field Study Experiences

BPS teachers bring their students from Preschool-Grade 5 to the Arnold Arboretum for a guided science study of plants and animals, using the natural landscape as their classroom. Please contact the Manager of Children’s Education at 617.384.5239, or email Nancy Sableski

Self-Guided School Groups

School teachers bring their students to the Arnold Arboretum independently. Teachers provide own chaperones and materials. Alternatively, working with an Arboretum educator, teachers can design experiences that fit their needs and curricular goals. Please contact the Nature Education Specialist at 617.384.9032, or email Ana Maria Caballero

Professional Development for Teachers

The Arboretum provides opportunities for educators to learn about specific, hands-on life science topics that complement science and literacy curriculum in the Boston Public Schools.

  • The Arboretum for Educators Monthly Explorations: Join us on the first Saturday of each month for a 2 1/2-hour outdoor/indoor investigation of seasonal natural phenomena and hands-on life science activities.  View 2019-2020 topics [pdf]
  • The Arnold Arboretum Summer Institute: Teachers from the Boston Public Schools and other area systems gather at the Arboretum for an intensive four day seminar held in August. Guest lecturers provide content, and education staff provide context using the outdoors.  One hundred percent of last year’s attendees would recommend this Institute to fellow educators.


In cooperation with Harvard University, the Arnold Arboretum has formed various partnerships with the local community, neighboring Boston Public Schools, and schools of higher learning.