Valuable Programs at School
School gardens can be found across the U. S. and in countries in Central and South America that are the result of projects of NGC member clubs and International Affiliates. These gardens can beautify the school grounds and create outdoor classrooms.
A school garden program does not have to start out using any outdoor land. Garden programs can be started in the classroom on a windowsill, cabinet or table near a window or artificial light source.
A new school garden initiative for the 2013-2015 administration is "Protect Our Friends the Pollinators." The garden is to be planted with native plants that attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other native pollinators to the garden. The gardens may be large or small, portable or stationary. Click here for more info.
School gardens are being integrated into the educational curriculum to teach children not only about gardening and plants but other subjects as well. School garden programs can be developed to address Standards of Learning in science, math, reading, writing and other curriculums. Gardens can teach children about insect life cycles; environmental science; conservation of soil and water; native plants; and habitats for butterflies, birds, insects and pollinators.
Art can also be related to school gardening programs with projects using plants that poets and painters have made famous, such as William Wordsworth's poem about daffodils, Georgia O'Keefe's painting of pansies, Monet's painting of gardens, and Van Gogh's paintings of irises and sunflowers.
Personal Benefits to the Student
With the rise of childhood obesity in the U. S., school vegetable gardens are a way to teach nutrition, healthy eating habits and exercise. Gardening is an activity that can get kids moving by turning compost heaps and barrels, clearing out beds for a new planting, mixing potting soils, lifting planters, raking leaves, hoeing, digging fence post holes, moving soil between beds, and spreading mulch and landscape materials. It is a physical activity that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
A school garden can also teach community awareness by helping youth to understand the concept of citizenship and their place in neighborhoods as well as in the environment. Students have the opportunity to watch seeds turn into plants and tangible produce, and in turn are able to use that produce to help those in need in their community.
Contact NGC School Garden Projects Chairmen, June Ashworth or IA School Gardens Chairman, Sandy Mangels, for information on starting a school garden program.