Students as Gardeners

Most elementary students, who spend long stretches of their day sitting in desks, are just itching to get outside. Though we may not think of gardening as a traditional part of the school day, gardens offer educators a unique chance to engage young, curious students and teach them valuable life lessons outside the classroom. With a little creativity, teachers of all subjects can find fun, easy ways to use a school’s garden as part of their curriculum.

Image courtesy of http://schoolgardenweekly.com

Aside from the structured lessons that can be taught through planting and tending a garden, students will likely come away from the experience with enriched social and personal values.  For instance, in classes where students are tasked with tending a garden over a long period of time, they will learn to practice teamwork, patience and responsibility – traits that can be challenging to develop within a classroom. You may find students who struggle in the classroom opening up and flourishing in the garden environment.

While some school gardens are quite large and elaborate, small spaces like a wall or fence can provide the same great learning opportunities. If your school has an underutilized outdoor space, big or small, and you’re interested in starting a garden, there are a plethora of online resources available to help you plan and get started. Below you’ll find links to a few particularly helpful websites:

MyHealthySchool.com – A step-by-step guide to getting started

School Garden Weekly – Information about available school garden grants, and a listing of activity ideas by grade level.

Kids Gardening – More information about the benefits gardening provides to students

Do you think your students would enjoy working in a school garden? Share your thoughts here.

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