My good friend Morgan Dragonwillow recently introduced me to the idea of school gardens. The idea is like that of a community garden, but in this case, the community is the students. The kids plant the seeds, weed, water, watch nature unfold, and ultimately harvest the fruits of their labors.
It’s an idea so simple and beautiful, and so obvious I can’t believe that every school doesn’t do it.
There are so many benefits:
- Kids learn teamwork as they work together to accomplish a goal
- Learning is hands on, and there’s none of that, “Where am I going to use this in the real world?” stuff. A garden is the real world.
- Gardening is active. It’s real exercise. (I was never athletic. I hated sports and gym class. I would have loved a garden.)
- Kids are more likely to try new, healthy foods when they have a hand in growing those foods themselves.
- There are numerous opportunities to apply classroom learning from science and ecology to math skills, following directions, responsibility…
The list goes on.
If you are interested in learning more, and maybe even in working with your local schools to start a school garden project, Here are a couple of links for more information:
- GreenHeart Education (things to consider when starting a school garden, garden theme ideas, fun and easy plants to grow, and links to more great websites)
- The Edible Schoolyard Project (resources, a network where you can look for a program near you, and related news)
- School Garden Wizard (planning and teaching resources)
And please like and share the Gardens in Schools Facebook page. Morgan has been posting links to lots of great information for schoolyard gardens.
It doesn’t matter where in the world you are or how big or small your school. All kids can benefit from the things they can learn in a garden.