Justifying School Gardens

25 07 2011

Question: Why is the school raising money to pay for gardening equipment? What does this have to do with education?

Answer: Inquiry is education. As we develop the school grounds into something that can be used by teachers, we are expanding inquiry opportunities. The classroom does not have to be defined by four walls. With electronics, the classroom is given global access. With gardens, the classroom is given local focus, tangible results, and involvement in inquiry-based education that can take place at each child’s own speed. In order to do outdoor projects, certain equipment is needed, such as: shovels, hoses, seeds, fertilizers, a garden cart, and mulch. This is not standard school issue. It is not the sort of thing that is typically donated to a school. School districts tend to be focused on providing bricks and mortar, books and paper, and technology. Garden projects work on bringing the abstract concepts alive (literally) so that children can truly see and understand what it is they are supposed to be learning. The garden and schoolyard habitats become places where the children can practice the lesson concepts and see what happens when they “do it right” and when they “do it wrong.” Many children would have very little contact with the natural world without school garden and habitat exposure, yet they are expected to understand it and manage it as adults. This makes the school garden projects ever more important in the long run; and to garden, you need the right tools to do the job.






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