In the past, gardening played a vital role in our lives. But now most of us buy our food from supermarkets, giving little consideration to where it comes from or how it’s grown.
Children these days are disconnected from land and food. Therefore some schools have taken the initiative to promote gardening. The Waldorf School is one of them.
The Waldorf School of Cape Cod has about 24 by 48-foot hoop houses on their school property, where both children and adults cultivate crops such as kale, carrots, spinach, and other veggies.
The program is terrific as it teaches students what is required for seeds to become fruit or veggies.
The greenhouse, where teachers and students learn together, has a removable roof for the summer months to avoid overheating.
Each student dedicates a certain amount of time yearly working in the greenhouse. The third-grade students are the weekly farmers in charge of the tasks, such as composting the lunch scraps using the school’s tumbling composter.
There is a new addition to the project, a worm bed inside the hoop house to create vermicompost.
Throughout summer, the school offers family gardening weekly so that students and parents can work together in the garden.
In the UK London’s Charlton Manor Primary School, the headteacher, Tim Baker, initiated an excellent school gardening example. He saw the news reports stating what today’s children lacked, so he decided to put some of the unused lands on the school’s property to good use.
Tim Baker believes that plenty of subjects could be taught in a garden while increasing the student’s activity levels, as it encourages teamwork and responsibility.
School gardening provides a hands-on learning environment. Children are engaged in a real-world activity and are encouraged to explore and reason independently.
Gardening helps change children’s eating habits by building an emotional connection with the food they are growing, helping them be more open-minded about trying out new dishes.
The garden has now become part of the school’s curriculum. The teachers have noticed a distinctive behavioral change in the more challenging students. They also use the garden as a backdrop for creative projects, as well as maths lessons.
The students have mapped out flower beds rather than relying on a small scale drawing in textbooks. They have also produced graphs and charts by measuring sunflowers’ sprouting and recording the weather information and its effects.
The produce from the garden is sold at the school shop handled by students during weekdays. The revenue, in turn, helps fund the garden and the necessary equipment and supplies they need.
Baker said he had seen a positive impact the garden has had on the community and the school.
There are roughly five thousand school gardens in operation in the United States. The benefits are endless, during the times where children spend more time in front of TVs and cell phones. Gardening can promote physical activity and a healthy eating lifestyle.
Experts believe that schools can play a significant role in changing children’s perspectives regarding food and providing access to healthier choices.
Why don’t you try this at home? If you don’t have a garden to convert, you could use hanging baskets, window sill baskets, or other makeshift containers. Use your imagination.
Gardening Tips for Beginners
Prepare containers or soil to grow your crop.
Location is essential as you don’t want it to have too much wind.
Sunlight plays a considerable part. Too much sun is not suitable for all plants.
Access to water.
Fertilizer or the right soil to grow your crops.
Check your seasons. Some seeds are not meant to be planted all year round.
What do you think should all schools have a year-round gardening program?