A significant goal of the Green Education Foundation (GEF) is to promote creative and effective ways for schools and teachers to shrink nature deficit by incorporating the outdoors into their existing curricula. One great ways to get kids more connected to nature is through gardening! Many schools today are planting gardens as a way to excite students to learn more about our natural world.
Planting gardens can be incorporated in lessons for all different classroom subjects, including science, health, math, language arts, creativity and more! Past surveys conducted have shown that teachers found gardening to be a great way to teach collaboration amongst their students as well as fostering a sense of commitment and responsibility.
School gardens can be used as a medium to teach children many lessons in ecology, biodiversity, and conservation. Gardens provide a way for students to learn about the impacts fertilizers, pesticides, and fossil fuels have on the Earth and human health. Implementing a school garden provides children of all age levels with active, hands-on education, where they can interact directly with nature, and learn about fostering a healthier lifestyle.
Along with these environmental lessons, gardening can help teach children about important current issues, such as, nutrition. Health professionals today are very concerned with the magnitude of childhood obesity and poor nutrition. Developing healthy habits early in life is important for the future health of children. Through planting vegetables, a garden acts as a mechanism to demonstrate better eating habits, plus children tend to be more excited to try new vegetables if they worked hard to grow them.
There are numerous ways a garden can work as a great teaching tool and GEF encourages schools and teachers to integrate gardening into their lessons. GEF offers grade specific lesson plans and activities relating to gardening, along with an array of gardening resources to help with your school or community garden! GEF hosts the Green Thumb Challenge each year calling on schools and groups to join in the largest youth gardening initiative! The Green Thumb Challenge aims to connect children with nature and all of the healthy benefits gardening promotes. Working with Gardener’s Supply Company, GEF offers a $5,000 grant to an exceptional youth garden project that has a positive impact in the school and community!
Check out the GEF website for the great tips on using a school garden as a learning resource. Get Gardening!Post by Gina Velluti, GEF Marketing Intern