Early Childhood

Personalizing the Garden

When kids develop a sense of ownership in your youth garden both the program and the children thrive. Children engaged in planning and caring for the garden tend to take on responsibility and put more effort into garden maintenance and learning activities. You can also nurture the child-garden relationship by inviting them to add a personal touch to the space. Here are a few ideas...

Community Planning Event

Objectives

  • To engage students, parents, teachers, staff, and other community members in planning the garden.
  • To increase and strengthen support for the school gardening program to ensure its sustainability.

Central Concept

By facilitating a planning event, students will see the benefit of collective brainstorming and develop connections in their community. It will also help foster ownership in all program participants.

Give a Garden

Objectives

Students will:

  • Reflect on and discuss ways that plants support human health and well-being
  • Give a plant or a container garden to a group or individual that can benefit from a gift of plants

Materials

Container for planting, plants, bagged soil mix, basin for moistening soil

How Trees Work

Trees are essential workhorses in our environment, providing us with oxygen to breathe; foods such as apples, hazelnuts, and maple syrup to eat; and wood for our houses, paper products, and furniture. In nature, trees provide housing for birds, insects, and other animals. They filter water and absorb carbon. For more on all that trees do in our ecosystems, check out the article “Digging Deeper with Trees." Their importance is evident, but how do trees actually work?

Engaging Students through Citizen Science

In schoolyards, backyards, and classrooms throughout North America – and beyond – students of all ages scan the skies for monarchs, monitor milkweed, document hummingbird arrivals, snap ladybug photos, notice nests, interview gardeners, report on bursting buds, and observe the color of firefly flashes. And that’s just for starters. In most cases, their next step is to go online and send their observations and measurements to a project website.

Citizen Science Projects We Like

Engaging ordinary people in science research isn’t something new. In fact, one of the first formal citizen science projects, the Christmas Bird Count, began in 1900! But in the last 20 years or so, many scientists and educators have embraced this strategy as a winning research and educational tool. Here we describe some of the projects that just might engage your young gardeners, habitat sleuths, and environmental stewards.

Flower Power

Tapping the Universal Appeal of Cut Flowers

Whether starting zinnia seeds on a sunny windowsill, planting blooming bulbs in a container, or growing big garden plots of flowers so they can make and sell bouquets at the local farmers’ market, schoolchildren all over the United States experience the beauty of cut flowers as they learn valuable math, science, art, and history concepts.

Cut Flower Lesson Ideas

Growing flowers helps teach kids many art, language, language arts, math, and science concepts—along with patience, responsibility, and appreciation for the natural world. Below are some lesson ideas we really like.

Garden-Inspired Performing Arts

Bringing Kids and Concepts to Life

Creating compost and exploring its creatures can be cool. So can tracking garden pollinators. It’s well-accepted that when students dig in with hands and minds, they build skills and grasp concepts. Now, imagine how your young scientists would flourish if you also invited them to interpret and portray their discoveries through a cast of characters; dramatic story; poem, rap, or song; musical performance; or interpretive dance.

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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     |     www.kidsgardening.org & www.garden.org      |     Created on 03/15/99, 

Last updated on 07/28/2014
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