- Plan ahead: Work closely with teachers to align the activities in the school garden with instructional goals and curriculum. This ensures that the garden becomes an integral part of the overall learning experience and supports specific learning objectives in different subject areas.
- Science in the garden: Encourage students to observe, experiment, and analyze the natural processes happening in the garden. They can investigate topics such as pollination, photosynthesis, soil composition, and pest control. This cultivates scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills.
- Language Arts in the Garden: Have students keep garden journals or write reflective essays about their experiences in the garden. This allows them to develop their writing skills while expressing their thoughts, observations, and discoveries.
- Math in the garden: The garden is a great place to integrate math concepts by having students measure plant growth, calculate harvest yields, or graph data collected from garden activities. They can also explore geometric shapes when designing garden layouts or measuring distances between plants.
- Social Studies in the garden: Explore the cultural and historical significance of plants grown in the garden. Discuss traditional uses, folklore, and the diverse perspectives surrounding specific plants. This allows students to appreciate and respect different cultural traditions while broadening their knowledge.
- Foster collaboration: Assign group projects that require students to work together. This encourages teamwork, cooperation, and communication skills as they plan, execute, and reflect on their shared experiences.
- Inspire entrepreneurship: Through running a garden-based enterprise, such as a Farmer’s Market, students can learn about budgeting, pricing, and managing costs. They gain practical knowledge of financial concepts such as profit, expenses, and revenue, which are fundamental to entrepreneurship.
- Celebrate harvests: Organize events to celebrate the bountiful harvests from the school garden. Students can showcase their hard work, demonstrate culinary skills by preparing dishes with the harvested produce, and share their knowledge with the school community. This fosters a sense of pride, accomplishment, and community involvement.
Designate garden time: Schedule dedicated time for students to work in the garden. This provides them with regular opportunities to engage in hands-on learning experiences, fostering a deeper connection with nature and the food they grow.
Connecting a school garden with instruction provides students with hands-on learning experiences, cultivates their curiosity and critical thinking skills, and nurtures their connection to the environment. It fosters multidisciplinary exploration, encourages teamwork and empathy, and equips students with valuable life skills. The school garden becomes a vibrant and engaging space where students actively participate, learn, and grow, leaving a lasting impact on their academic journey and personal development.
For assistance implementing a garden and using it as a learning tool, contact Damon Carr: