Whether or not you had a garden at your school growing up (unfortunately, I did not), the idea sounds rather appealing. Maybe your child has one at their school, or maybe you’ve never even heard of such a thing. Aren’t schools for learning and not for growing plants? How would school gardening even benefit my child?
Well, I’m glad you asked! There are, in fact, many different ways that having a garden at your child’s school can benefit them now and in the future. Let’s take a look at three positive ways a school garden can make an impact on your child.
Yes, growing and maintaining a school garden can most definitely lead to academic success for young children—in more than one academic subject. Being involved in a school garden has been linked to an increase in the success of science, environmental studies, and health education. This, of course, is attributed to when planting and tending to a garden becomes a part of the child’s curriculum. Most children are visual learners, and a visual and physical connection to the subject they are learning can be invaluable to retaining information.
Tending to a garden and being in the presence of nature has been proven to support positive health and well-being for many reasons—and this applies to adults as well as children! In fact, Psychology Today has listed 10 ways on how and why gardening is beneficial for our mental health. These include releasing happy hormones, helping to deal with anger and anxiety, and connecting with nature. Due to the fact that gardening often provides a "safe place” for children, they are more likely to get along with others socially in this situation and learn how to work together to improve the environment in which we live and create something everyone can be proud of. They are also more accepting of each other’s differences in this positive and safe atmosphere. You could even teach them about responsibility by having a chicken coop and enjoying fresh eggs every day.
One major benefit of kids growing fruits and vegetables is that they are a lot more likely to want to eat them. What kid would not want to try a delicious piece of fruit that they helped grow? With the discovery of how good this fresh piece of fruit or vegetable actually tastes, children are a lot more likely to continue down this path of healthy eating, especially when taught about the nutritional benefits at the same time. With the understanding of how fresh fruits and vegetables can benefit their body from a young age, it is much more likely that children will continue their healthy eating into adulthood. Just like with good food such as fresh meat, eggs, and dairy products, if your kids increase their vegetable consumption, it cannot be a bad thing, can it?
As you can see, there is truly no downside to a school garden. If your child’s school does not currently have a garden, you should plant that seed at the next school council meeting! Children's health is vital, after all.