Children get great enjoyment from being outdoors. They’re curious, taking enjoyment from learning when it’s practical and creative. That’s why school gardening could be the start of a lifelong passion for children. What’s more, they get the satisfaction of watching something evolve from a tiny seed into a beautiful plant… or even vegetables they can go on to eat.
It’s also fair to say that most children love getting in the dirt! By making mud pies and planting healthy vegetables, children even strengthen their immune system.
This is just the start of a long list of reasons why school gardening is so beneficial for children! But more on that later… First, Hand Made Places has taken a look into the opportunities for gardening with students.
Gardening in UK Schools
The RHS ‘Campaign for School Gardening’ launched in 2007, and since then over 12,000 educational institutes have signed up. This campaign aims to show how gardening can enrich the curriculum, and encourage schools to use it as a teaching tool. To do this, the campaign supports the development of sustainable gardens for young people’s health and wellbeing.
For example, a Window Planter is ideal for teaching children about the whole plant life cycle. This is a type of planter with four windows around the sides, which makes it perfect for children to watch their seeds grow below the soil as well. It’s also a great opportunity for minibeast activities whilst gardening with early years pupils.
Gardening is often overlooked in schools, however it can help to develop a number of life skills, as well offering environmental education. What’s more, school gardening projects provide natural and sustainable resources. Register your school for the RHS Campaign For School Gardening here.
What are the benefits of school gardening for students and children?
The importance of gardening cannot be understated as it contributes to the conservation of insects and biodiversity. In addition to environmental benefits, gardening has a big effect on children and early years pupils as they go through physical, emotional and social development.
Below are just some of the ways in which gardening benefits school children, from new skills to improved academic performance:
- Physical activity.
- Responsibility and independence.
- Teamwork and communication.
- Literacy, numeracy and biology.
- Healthy lifestyles.
- Environmental awareness.
Let’s take a look at how teachers can really make these benefits blossom through the activities they lead in school…
Weeding and Watering
Gardening tasks such as weeding and watering plants and vegetables are a chance for children to use vital motor skills. They’re also activities which promote responsibility.
Seeing the Fruits of their Labour
Achieving goals allows children to become more self-confident, resilient and independent as they see their hard work materialise, especially when they are able to enjoy the food they have grown.
What’s more, planting and growing food offers children an opportunity to learn about nutrition. Children may also be more willing to try new vegetables if they have grown their own, so it could also encourage a healthier lifestyle.
School gardening means children will communicate and work as a team towards achieving a common goal. This can lead to them developing new appreciation and respect for one each other.
Why not try splitting up a planter into sections? A raised bed with compartments is ideal for team work; each group can take responsibility for a section with a different type of vegetable.
What’s more, the act of gardening is a great opportunity for open, relaxed discussions in schools. That’s because it’s proven to be much easier to have ‘difficult’ conversations when occupied and not sitting formally, face-to-face.
The practical, hands-on nature of gardening means children become strong, active learners.
One benefit of teaching through gardening is that children will develop the ability to carry out tasks as they learn, becoming flexible with their thinking; they’ll solve problems by adapting to new challenges presented by nature.
This inquisitive and rewarding approach to learning can even improve concentration inside the classroom.
Furthermore, children will learn about the environment and sustainability. They can learn about insects and how they have an impact on the development of plants and vegetables. Finally, with composting activities for children, it’s easy to teach them about loving their planet.
Have you been inspired to bring the benefits of gardening to your school?
Download our free gardening & outdoor learning resources to start straight away…
And don’t forget to share this resource with friends and colleagues!