Why Gardening is Beneficial to Any Curriculum
When I was in 4th grade around 9 years ago, I recall a technology boom throughout my school, when schools were rapidly trying to turn over their paper curriculum to the digital world. In fact, we didn’t even have a Spanish teacher, and instead learned our second language through a popular language teaching application. Now, I see my sister, 9 years of age, sitting in her bedroom in an online classroom because of COVID-19, where all of her classwork is listed on her computer screen. She has had to figure out new ways to learn, and so has everyone who is currently enrolled in any school year throughout the world.
When schools return back to normal with happy children back in the desks that now remain empty, a school garden would seem like the perfect idea. There are so many benefits that come from having a school garden, and would spark interest in stepping outside of the digital world and into the real one. With COVID-19, we have seen the importance of in person learning, and I think this also goes for hands on learning as well. No matter what age, gardening provides education that everyone can take something from and apply it to their own lives. From a more nutritional diet to the sight of seeing hard work pay off with their own eyes, many children have been greatly impacted for the better by gardening curriculums in school.
One of the biggest benefits of gardening is the nutritional value it entails. Currently, there is no practical nutritional education applied in schools except a balanced lunch and a poster hung on the wall with a catchy slogan. However, a more in depth look at nutritional diets and health can change lives forever. Gardens provide this education in places where most schools are lacking, and these skills will last a lifetime among children. Ask anyone who has ever gardened, it is good for the soul.
Other benefits are emotional connection and a steady, consistent learning activity that many children look forward to going to school for the day for. Even if you owned a plant before, many gain emotional connection to something they’re growing. Personally, when I notice a leaf wilting on one of my house plants, I can’t help but frown. These connections from seed to plate show their hard work and how consistency can benefit them in other ways. Currently, at my 9 year old sister’s public school, they have a community garden that all the classes help with. Before the COVID pandemic, she would be so excited to come home and tell us about her day, especially if she helped with the garden. The excitement that many children have when a garden is within reach is something that cannot be mimicked with a computer or cell phone.
There are so many reasons to consider having a gardening curriculum in any grade, especially elementary age. Gardening programs can even change a child’s life, especially in poverty stricken areas. With all this in mind, there is no reason for all schools not to have a garden embedded in the community of their school.