Is this the year you start a garden at your school?
September 09, 2014
It's back to school time. And after the frenzy of haircuts and school supply shopping dies down, maybe it's time to think about how to make your child's school a better place this year.
We think that one of the best ways to do so is to help start a school garden. And judging by the estimated 2,500 school gardens in California schools alone, we aren't alone!
Why? Gardens are an unending source of learning for kids - from math to literacy, biology to chemistry, there are so many ways gardens provide educational opportunities for kids.
Graph the growth of a plant. Read a book about gardens (see our list of suggestions!). Examine the soil for beneficial insects and worms. Draw the parts of a flower. Harvest and serve healthy, fresh food! Research shows that school gardens and exposure to nature improves many important outcomes.
Gardens also help kids make healthy food choices. They're more likely to try produce they have grown or harvested themselves, and more likely to request foods they find familiar. In this way, gardens can be an important tool in preventing childhood overweight and obesity.
While school gardens are a rapidly growing trend, many schools still don't have them. It may feel like a big undertaking to start a school garden. Fortunately, there are many resources to help:
- First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative offers a school garden checklist
- Kids Gardening offers a start up guide
- The Common Ground Garden program of UCLA Extension offers a guide with Easy Steps to Building a Sustainable School Garden Program
- Grow to Learn NYC offers a school garden curriculum
Image source: Wikimedia Commons