Gardening with Creative Containers

The hot summer months of July and August are great activity months for children. This summer, our family has been busy biking, swimming and kayaking quite often. It’s also the time of year to visit your local parks, stop by roadside lemonade stands and perhaps attend a few weekend garage or yard sales.

Planning Pays Off

Elementary science teacher Steve Tomsik feels that it is his primary job to get his students into the garden as much as possible because of the great extensions between knowledge and exploration.

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Nutrition Program Highlights

  • The school now maintains a partnership with Wellness in the Schools, an organization that has facilitated a gradual change in lunch meals, and provides chefs and cooking interns who work with cafeteria staff to prepare healthy lunches. The lunch menu now offers freshly prepared meals (including an occasional special lunch of grass-fed beef) with a daily salad bar. They have also held parent-lunch days to show how the lunches have improved.

  • The school sponsors a Harvest Day each year in October to showcase food harvested from the garden. Students enjoy a special lunch (with available garden produce), tasting tables, visits from local farmers, and Garden to School Café programs. Pictures of the Harvest Day can be seen on the school’s website.

Indoor Gardening Ideas

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. And since we’ve no place to go, Let it Grow, Let it Grow, Let it Grow!   

Garden Structures: Grades K-2

Question: What are some simple garden structures that I could build with my K-2 class?

Decision Making: Grades 3-5

Question: How do I guide Grade 3-5 children through the choices that are involved in making a garden?

Bringing Social Studies to Life in School Gardens

As students sow, grow, and reap the fruits of school gardens, science and math lessons are naturally relevant. But consider the added possibilities for using school plots as a compelling lens for social studies and history. After all, exploring how food is (and has been) raised, transformed, and consumed across the globe can reveal a lot about communities and cultures, economies, human settlement and migration, changing world views, the influence of geography and climate, and more.

English Language Development in the Garden

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A Safe Place for Expression

An Australian study that evaluated the effects of school gardening on ESL students' learning about good nutrition reported positive gains in student learning and feelings of belonging to the school community. One ESL teacher described how the freedom of learning outside the classroom allowed ESL students – some from war-torn countries – to explore concepts in a place where they felt safe to express themselves. “The researchers observed that ESL students contributed as fully in the garden activities and were just as eager to describe what they were doing as were their classmates,” said the report. According to teachers, “the students felt a sense of purpose to ensure the plants did not die and in doing so created a bond with fellow students and teachers who shared in maintaining the garden.”

When students learn within an engaging context, they are more apt to feel comfortable and confident, grasp language structures and vocabulary, and build listening, reading, and communication skills. In schoolyard gardens, language-building activities grow out of concrete experiences, hands-on investigations, and natural events. These – and good teaching strategies – motivate youngsters to learn.

Preparing School Garden Coordinators in Portland, OR

Growing Gardens' Educator TrainingGrowing Gardens, a nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon, has established a training program as part of their Youth Grow Project to prepare educators and volunteers to serve as school garden coordinators. With 35 hours of hands-on training taught by a host of community experts, Youth Grow manager Caitlin Blethen shares that the goal of this certificate program is to help schools establish and maintain long lasting edible-garden-based education programs.

Matching Mentors with School Gardeners in Austin

Ann Richards School, Austin, TXThe community-based Sustainable Food Center (SFC) in Austin, Texas, among other activities, helps school kids throughout the city grow gardens – especially those in low income communities with a high incidence of diet-related diseases.

What Have Plants Done for You Lately?

Human Issues in Horticulture (HIH) is a branch of horticultural science that seeks to understand the role plants play in our quality of life. Most of the data confirms what is obvious to anyone who works with and loves plants: Being around them makes people feel good. But more importantly, by highlighting and measuring the impact of plants on specific environmental conditions and human behaviors, the research throws light on how crucial the presence of plants and natural settings are to our health and well-being.

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Copyright © 1999-2012 National Gardening Association     | &      |     Created on 03/15/99, 

Last updated on 04/22/2014
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