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TIE (Tanzania Institute of Education)
The Importance of Gardens in a School
School gardens can make lasting differences in the lives of children. The lessons taught through these outdoor learning laboratories transcend gardening to impact children, their families and entire communities for years to come. Here are some of the many ways school gardens make a difference:
1. Encourages Physical Activities
Gardening requires various levels of physical strength and mobility. It’s perfect to keep students active, have them feel the ground on their feet and the dirt in their hands. Beyond sports and usual exercises, having a school garden is yet another natural and engaging way to improve children’s health.
2. Puts Forward Biodiversity and Conservatism
It’s easy to forget our species can’t exist without respecting the needs of Mother Earth. School gardens contribute significantly to helping children understand how critical our natural world is. Considering the alarming rates of deforestation, pollution and even toxic gardening, having a plant nursery on school grounds provide awareness. Moreover, it helps develop an eco-friendlier way of thinking; that they grow up to be more responsible and mindful adults.
3. Academic Achievement
classroom activities often involve passive learning as children read aloud and
listen to their teachers. But activities in an outdoor garden classroom bring
abstract concepts to life through active, hands-on learning. School garden
programs use typical gardening tasks, such as planning, planting, caring and
harvesting, to illustrate cultivation. Plants, insects, birds and weather all
become participants in the learning process. As a result, children are more
engaged, more attentive and more motivated to learn.
While school gardens encourage creativity, stricter disciplines benefit, too. Research shows that students who participate in garden-based science curriculum, in addition to traditional classroom learning, score significantly higher on science achievement tests than students in a traditional classroom-based control group. This garden-enhanced achievement benefits both boy and girls equally.
4. Teaches Communication and Teamwork
with students can help them sharpen their communication skills. Once they start
learning what plants they’re looking at and how to care for them, they have
better chances of expressing themselves.
Teamwork is also another lesson they can learn throughout their time in the school garden. Engaging them with various gardening activities in groups will hone
5. Relieves Stress
Stress comes in all forms. In schools, it’s often peer pressure that troubles students, which makes it even more important to have the right outlets to cope. Gardening is scientifically proven to calm the nerves and ease the mind.
6. Environmental Stewardship
children raised outside rural settings have never seen seeds sprout or
vegetables develop. For some, eating
or even seeing fresh produce is rare. Through school’s gardens, children
experience the rewards of fresh produce and the process that brings them to
pass. They learn to understand the natural growth of plants from seeds to
sprouts to flowers to fruits and the impact that rain, drought and other forces
of nature have on plant life. Children learn first-hand the connection between
nature, their own food supply, and the pollinators and other creatures their
school garden ecosystem attracts and supports.
This newfound connectedness to nature fosters respect and concern for the environment as a whole. Students who participate in hands-on garden classroom programs develop greater concern and awareness of resource conservation and allocation than students who do not. Student garden participants also express more positive outlooks on nature, gardening and environmental issues. The strongest responses result from involvement with active gardening.