Haiku Alive!

Haiku Alive! is 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 Title1 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.

Haiku Alive! gave my students a chance to open up their eyes to a different world just outside their door. This journey allowed for their senses to awaken with their final project writing Haiku. Their haiku represented serenity, wellness, beauty, life and simplicity.  For just one moment, they forgot the challenges they face and loved the feeling of being outdoors and enjoying poetry.

–Jody Tucker, teacher, Shaver Elementary School

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

Haiku Alive! is funded in part by a grant from the FAO Schwarz Family Foundation and the PGE Foundation