School gardens are magical places full of positivity, love towards nature and social connection. If you ask any student about their favourite part of school, it’s likely that many of them would mention the school garden.
It’s clear that students adore them, but do school gardens actually have an educational purpose? Absolutely!
In this article, read some of the main educational benefits of school gardening for students.
1. Spending time outdoors
After spending a lot of time in the classroom, students can get burnout and feel the desire to change their surroundings. This is why many students are excited about the end-of-day bell: not because they want school to end, but because they’re tired of spending all that time indoors.
School gardens are a great way to introduce outdoors time to your students’ daily school routine. They will simply love the change of scenery and surrounding, which will replenish them for new lessons and learning.
Spending time in the fresh air, moving around and exercising are also closely linked to cognitive functions and academic performance.
2. Learning responsibility
School gardens are a great way for students to learn the importance of taking care of a living organism.
“Just like having a pet, there’s nothing that teaches children responsibility better than having to take care of a living creature. In the household, it’s hard to set up a garden that a child will be solely responsible for. That’s why schools are a great environment to create a garden and let students take responsibility”, says Michaela Coleman, an education expert at Studicus.
Of course, the starting point would be to educate students about taking care of plants. They can then take on increasing responsibility for the garden. You can hold fun classes and courses about some of the most interesting plants and gardening techniques.
When it comes to children, taking responsibility simultaneously implies an increase in self-confidence.
3. School gardens improve grades!
Research has shown that participating in school gardening activities actually has a positive impact on academic achievements. Third, fourth and fifth-grade students participating in school gardening activities demonstrated a better performance in science tests than those who weren’t.
There has also been an analysis of twelve different studies carried out between 1990 and 2010 which proved that school gardening has a positive effect on “knowledge, grades, attitudes and behaviour”.
It’s probably not something that your students are aware of, but if you don’t believe the research, simply ask your students. Likely, many of your students will say that they believe that the school gardening program has a good effect on their grades.
Also, make sure you include all students in the gardening program, and not only those who are interested in it.
4. Learning practical, real-life skills
School gardening teaches real-life, highly applicable skills. The winning combination would be to incorporate school gardens in different subjects, which can bring the material closer to students.
For example, math is a subject that can highly benefit from participating in school gardening. There, students can get practically familiar with important concepts geometry, such as area, perimeter, spacing and geometric planning.
Of course, some of the biggest applications are in Biology, Nature Science and Life Science. In a school garden, students can directly observe everything they’re learning in theory about plants and living organisms. You can even use samples from your own school garden to craft herbarium books and microscope samples.
5. Building healthy social habits
A school garden is a place to promote great social connections and habits. While working in the garden, students will learn the precious skill of cooperation. They will quickly find out that they can’t handle everything on their own and need to work with others.
Teamwork is also an important segment of these social skills. In a school garden, students will actually have to come together and decide among themselves what they need to do to succeed as a team.
Even though gardening is an activity that keeps people working together closely, you will almost never see an argument or a fight in a school garden. That’s the beauty of a social and healthy environment!
6. Building an appreciation for the world around us
Having access to a school garden, gives students to opportunity to eat food that they have nurtured from seed. This is a magical experience and gives students an invaluable insight into where our food comes from. With this they learn an invaluable appreciation of the delicate balances in our ecosystems and the crucial roles they play.
Getting hands-on experience of composting is another eye-opener for many students. Through composting students learn the importance of all the insects and creatures in our soil and gardens. Bokashi composting offers a very accessible way for students to compost. With bokashi, students can see how food ‘waste’ is converted into highly nutritious compost is as little as 4 to 6 weeks.
Introducing a school garden (or activating more if you already have one) can have many benefits for your students.
Not only will they spend more time outdoors after a lot of time in the classroom, but they will also become equipped with precious real-life skills. After spending their best years in a school with a gardening program, it’s likely that almost all students will continue to nurture this love towards nature throughout their life!
About the Author: Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors.Now she works as a freelance writer at TrustMyPaper and GrabMyEssay.