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Publish at May 03 2014 Updated January 19 2022

Let's cultivate our school gardens

Resources for stimulating schoolchildren's creativity through gardening

Agriculture in all its forms is continually continuing, (re)creating and transforming for the very survival of the human species. The saying goes well: they sowed and we eat, we sow and they will eat. But we do not grow only for nutrition, the concern for preserving nature, beautifying the environment, research, renewal and innovation, have always animated our relationship with the plant world.

Whether in urban environments thirsty for nature or in rural environments where we have the illusion of knowing enough, or in environments with nutritional problems, the education of children  to the knowledge and love of plants is best done through educational projects as an integral part of learning. Some experiences even show that this is the most appropriate way to affiliate young people for life through and for plants, provided that one piques the curiosity of children who will be ready to become seeds of cultivators.

A site dedicated to gardening at school

The Jardinons à l'école, produced by the GNIS with the support of VAL'HOR is a compilation of excellent resources to introduce children to and love nature, to familiarize them with plants, to teach them how to cultivate them, and to make them want to sow and garden later.

With the possibilities offered by guides, JARDIFICHES (information to start, develop, renew gardening activities), activity sheets, JARDITHÈQUES (ways to present, convince and get people to adhere to an educational project) and JARDI-POSTERS (gardening techniques, plant knowledge, plant diversity), the elements of which can be combined in a single educational kit, one can build a school gardening project and raise the gardening consciousness in which the roots of ecological awareness are rooted.

In addition, the site echoes organizations that offer educational actions each year around school gardening, the discovery of plants, parks and gardens. They are an opportunity to implement gardening activities and discover the many educational extensions that result.

Students, teachers and parents will certainly enjoy entering the yard of the imaginary school and walk their mice  to discover that all the corners of the school enclosure are conducive to gardening activities and plant cultivation.

Let experts and practitioners guide you

If you're tempted to give it a try, you can take advantage of a wealth of guidance first, appropriately enough, in the form of a guidebook like the one created by the FAO Creating and Running a School Garden

The FAO encourages schools to create medium-sized gardens that can be easily managed by students, teachers, and parents, but at the same time produce many nutritious vegetables and fruits, and sometimes even allow for the raising of small animals, such as chickens or rabbits. The production methods are simple, so that students and their parents can easily reuse them at home.

A document in 12 chapters free downloadable  will guide you step by step from your first questions (relevance of the project, definition of the needs), to the finalization and sustainability of the project through the types of crops and the mode of distribution.

It is also clear that this type of project requires, especially in disadvantaged environments where the school is a stakeholder in the fight for development, taking into account certain realities such as adaptation to the environment, local habits and nutritional intake. See Running a school garden in West Africa.

When creative (and sharing) teachers get a hold of the concept it can lead to some fun discoveries and other surprises. Here's a cool workshop from a kindergarten teacher on garden science (she says she's not very good at gardening, but she's amusingly creative). Lots of videos where obviously the kids are learning hands on and enjoying it.

This is all very palpable and all in all, going through experimentation and practice in life and earth sciences is a no-brainer but how about if math gets in the way? And yes during the exhibition "Garden of Maths", activities poetically or prosaically entitled Paving an unlimited space, inventing shapes that pave or Determining the number of sunflowers needed to make a salad dressing demonstrate, if it were still necessary that the disciplinary distinctions are sometimes only purely methodological.

References

Gardening at School: Making a School Garden, Practicing Gardening at School in Kindergarten and Elementary. "Learn about children's imaginary garden, school gardening, classroom gardening, school gardening without borders and share your experiences." Accessed June 3, 2014.
http://www.jardinons-alecole.org/pages/intro.php

Maternailes: Kindergarten Cycle Practices and Resources. "Gardening." Accessed June 3, 2014.
http://maternailes.net/leblog2/jardinage/

Manuals Without Borders. Accessed June 3 2014. http://manuels.asso.free.fr/bibliotheque/potager.pdf

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. "Creating and Running a School Garden." Accessed June 3 2014. http://www.fao.org/docrep/011/a0218f/a0218f00.htm

 

Photo credit: paulaphoto/Shutterstock.com 


 


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