Developing Character in the Garden

Anti-Bullying Strategies
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Creating a No-Bully Zone

Although the 2011-2012 school year is coming to an end, this is a great time to start planning an anti-bullying unit for the start of the 2012-2013 school year. Here is an activity to guide you and your students through the process of designing your own anti-bullying contract.

Download the Bullying Prevention Activity (PDF) »

A principal's insight on how school gardens can eliminate bullying.    

Young gardeners contributing to the larger effort of beautifying the school.Within a garden live many individual plants. Each of these plants alone can be beautiful and unique, but as a whole, alongside all the other plants, they are so much more.

“Because Your Children Live What They Learn…”

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Here are some meaningful plant selections to incorporate into your peace garden:

Rhododendron - in Russia, the blossoms signify peace, health, and purity

Mistletoe - in Scandinavia, associated with Frigga, the goddess of love

White pine tree - for the Native American Haudenosaunee, or Six Nations Peoples, the five needles joined together indicate unity

Peace Rose - a rose variety introduced in 1945 to commemorate the end of World War II

Sunflowers - a symbol of freedom from the threat of nuclear weapons during the 1990s. Sunflowers are warm and welcoming; grow in friendly crowds; and produce nutritious seeds for people and wildlife.

Cosmos - named after the Greek word for well-ordered universe; symbolizes peace and order

Education in the garden is a great way to teach kids to live responsibly and peacefully.This philosophy, from the creator of Playschool Child Care, Inc., Carol Acosta, is what continues to guide the program more than 25 years later.

Growing BIG in the Great Outdoors

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Bonnie Plants’ Third Grade Cabbage Program is a free program offered to third grade classrooms nationwide. The purpose is to support youth to eat healthy and be garden advocates. To support this purpose, Bonnie Plants offers resources online to help students grow their cabbage. In addition, lesson ideas and recipes are provided along with help for teachers and parents. Visit the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program website for more details about registration.

You can also view a complete list of the Third Grade Cabbage Program scholarship winners for 2011 for each state. 

Being outside has so much to offer; whether you are a gardener or not, there is a place for you in the Great Outdoors. Each year, thousands of third graders nationwide find a special place outside by participating in a program which challenges them to grow an oversized cabbage.

Compost Happens

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Jean shares some of her ideas to get kids interested in composting:

  • Ask students what happens to blue jeans and t-shirts in the landfills? Can they be composted?
  • Ask for an old cotton t-shirt and/or an old pair of jeans to be donated. Place them at the bottom of the compost pile, or use a smaller piece for a worm bin. Do the students realize they are wearing plants? How long will it take to break down? Have students make guesses as to what will happen to these old clothes.
  • Do you have multiple working compost bins at school? Have a t-shirt composting race with another class. Which class will have a faster compost pile? What causes one compost bin to decompose materials faster than the other? Was one pile being turned more than the other? Take the temperature inside the pile. Is one pile hotter than the other?
  • Consider doing an experiment with a piece of a t-shirt in one pile and a plastic bottle in another. Let the students predict what will happen.

As the wife of an active duty Marine, Jean Persely has made the most of her frequent moves by teaching others to “bloom where they are planted.” Jean has committed to making a positive impact on any community she joins. It was in 2005, that Jean developed a vision to impact a school community by planning the introduction of a garden.

Creating Your Own Children’s Garden

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Are you looking for an indoor activity for the garden? Download these simple instructions to create signs for indoor and outdoor gardens.

Here is a geography lesson for grades 3-5 to introduce the topics of longitude and latitude as they relate to botanical gardens. Download Where in the World???

Think back to your childhood. Can you remember any interactions with plants or a garden that made an impression on you? I can remember the first time I learned about snapdragons. I was at my grandmother’s house and my mom showed me how you can pinch the sides of the bloom to cause the flower to open and close, which looked like a dragon mouth. I was in awe that a plant could do this. Another time I “discovered” the softness of lamb’s ear. The amazement that a plant’s leaves could feel so soft was a memory that remains with me today.

Homeschool Cooperative Gardening Class

The Nature Detectives

“Today’s child is more familiar with the drive-thru menu than the garden.” This belief is what led Suellen Mullins of DeSoto, Texas, to begin one of the only known homeschool cooperative gardening programs in Texas.

Becoming a Horticulture Therapist: From Hobby to Career

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Discover NGA's Career Connections

Read short bios from each NGA staff member, find out what led them into their careers, and why gardening and connecting with nature is important. Read more »

After spending 20 years as an independent contractor for numerous companies, Lisa Lindmark has found her “best job” as a horticulture instructor at a 600+ patient mental health hospital.

The Beginning of a Library Garden

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NGA's Own

Libraries have a unique opportunity to provide a visual connection between literature and nature. Grants are available to support library gardens, but often require someone with a vision. National Gardening Association offers assistance in this area. Whether you’re interested in developing a particular theme garden or a garden that encompasses a variety of books, our professional staff of landscape architects, horticulturists and educators can help you develop your vision. Visit Library Gardens for more information about how we can design your library garden which will in turn help you as your seek support for funding the installation of this space.

The Village of Plain City Garden features several animal topiaries named after classic authors.In an effort to preserve the historic Village of Plain City, Ohio, local gardeners and members of the county Master Gardener program pulled their resources to establish a landmark for the town.

Teaching Kids about Water and Soil Conditions

A previous newsletter highlighted the impacts sunlight and wind have on the family garden and microclimate surroundings.

April is National Garden Month!

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Read more from the April 2015 edition of Kids Garden News:

All the Dirt on Soil

Five Projects to Celebrate Earth Day

Planting a Family Tree

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Kids Gardening and the National Gardening Association actively work with schools and communities across the country to provide educational resources and build gardens to promote health, wellness, and sustainability.


Copyright © 1999-2014 National Gardening Association     | &      |     Created on 03/15/99, 

Last updated on 04/01/2015
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