Photo by Joan Kvitka

This is the Portland Japanese Garden’s cornerstone in-school education program.

Teaching the Japanese cultural value of Living in Harmony with Nature, with particular focus on the tradition of haiku poetry, the Garden’s Haiku Alive! program offers a gateway to exploring the natural world both in and out of the classroom. Participating students receive an immersive experience, engaging all five senses to translate natural beauty into words. From the classroom to the Garden, Haiku Alive! inspires creativity, builds language skills, and instills confidence in students of all abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.

Haiku Alive! began in 2011 as a program in partnership with Title 1 elementary schools in the Parkrose School District of Northeast Portland. The curriculum consists of three sequenced classroom lessons and a guided tour of the Portland Japanese Garden, for which children are provided cameras to capture their own perceptions of the Garden. The visit is followed by the opportunity for children to bring their families back to the Garden at no charge, and finally a published book for the children, featuring their own photography and haiku.

“We are so grateful to Joan, the Portland Japanese Garden, and all the great sponsors who care so much for our deserving children.”
– Karen Gray, Superintendent, Parkrose School District

Joan Kvitka is the Portland Japanese Garden’s Curriculum Consultant and coordinator of the Haiku Alive! program.