The Benefits of a School Garden
A garden, however small it may be, is a source of positive energy. Letting students plant seeds, nurture it, and monitor it closely will help them to have more peace of mind, says study. Here are some of the benefits of adding a garden to school.
Nature as Teacher:
The experience of seeing seed, soil, water and sun come together to transform into a tiny plant is a lesson in itself, and one not soon forgotten. Learning to appreciate the wonder and power of nature is the core of an environmental education. Planting a seed teaches students about the need to protect our natural resources, since clean soil and water are necessary for the plants to grow. Children learn that we need to preserve open land for food crops, trees and enjoying nature. By tending the garden and taking care of their environment, they see that they are helping nature make the magic happen.
The Law of the Land Responsibility and Teamwork:
The fundamental rule of farming is that it takes responsibility and teamwork. If you don’t water your garden, your plants will die. If you don’t weed the garden, the weeds get worse and you have to work harder later to get the job done. Children learn how to be responsible by taking care of something and seeing the consequences when they don’t do the work. Gardens also provide a wealth of opportunities for teamwork. Students need to work together to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water the plants and stay on top of the weeding. These opportunities to take responsibility and work with others can build students’ self esteem, and watching their garden grow is the sign of their success.
Gardens provide a wealth of opportunities for kids to get their hands dirty while learning lessons in many different areas of curriculum. Students can study plant anatomy and botanical life science, and those are just the beginning. Young scientists can change variables in the garden (such as watering frequency or plant spacing), then collect data on plant growth, chart the research and write up their analyses and conclusions.
Sneaking in Nutrition Education:
A vegetable garden gives your school all the benefits mentioned above, with the added reward of valuable nutrition lessons on the importance and joys of eating fresh foods.
Many teachers simply lack the time and the resources to add another content area to the existing curriculum. In this area, the garden is a double blessing. It lets you enrich your curriculum lessons while also providing an opportunity to teach nutrition when students sample their harvest. Children are much more likely to taste a vegetable they have grown, and vegetables always taste better straight from the garden.
School gardens can take variety of forms, from the simplest containers outside a classroom to a multi-plot, in-ground garden featuring seating areas and a greenhouse. But the size of your garden should not limit its potential to contribute to the learning environment. The benefits are readily available to all, so go and plant that seed!