This fall season is mentally taking me back to the fall of 2015 when I was recruited to help with my son's School Garden Program. Since then, I have passionately shared why gardening should be taught in schools and included in every school's curriculum. Below are a few reasons why.
Connecting with Nature: Garden education allows students to connect, with all of their senses, with nature. It's an inviting opportunity for children to step away from screens and experience the wonders of the natural world firsthand.
Physical Activity: Learning outdoors encourages children to get their hands dirty, explore, and play in the fresh air. It promotes physical activity and is a refreshing break from traditional classroom settings.
Cross-curricular Learning: Garden education provides a practical, hands-on approach to learning about biology, ecology, chemistry, environmental science, mathematics, history, multicultural studies, and more. Students can apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world context, enhancing their understanding of these subjects.
Teaching Resiliency and Problem-Solving: Learning alongside nature teaches an important lesson: gardens don't always yield perfect results. Sometimes, plants thrive, and other times, crops fail to grow or produce. This variability teaches students to cope with success and failure, fostering resilience. They learn that setbacks are opportunities for adaptability and problem-solving for the next season or year.
Bonding and Community: Gardening together can foster community among students, parents, teachers, and administration. Parents have an opportunity to get involved in their child's education, share quality time with their children and classmates, and learn alongside them. A school garden also promotes a sense of pride, reinforcing belonging and being a part of something special.
Emotional Well-Being: Spending time outdoors and gardening can contribute to emotional well-being. It's a chance for students to relax, unwind, and reduce stress. As a mother and teacher who values happiness and mental health, gardening can be a source of joy and emotional support for students.
Lifelong Love for the Outdoors: Introducing children to gardening can instill a lifelong love for the outdoors and nature. It encourages them to explore and appreciate the environment around them, which can have lasting positive effects on being Earth stewards and making choices that positively impact the planet.
The benefits listed above only scratch the surface. Gardening should also be taught in schools because it teaches patience and responsibility while promoting inclusion. It has a positive ripple effect within families, schools, communities, and beyond. Planting these seeds of knowledge could lead to a growing brighter future.
If your school is looking to start or enhance their school garden program, you need to check out the Rutabaga Education Curriculum!