School Gardens help to extend the classroom beyond traditional settings by expanding it outside. Gardening can provide students with hands-on learning opportunities while increasing environmental awareness and vital experience in problem-solving.
In a school garden, children are learning to grow more than just plants. According to Lisa Giorday, who manages the program The Classroom Gardener,“the garden is a wonderful place where children learn to come up with solutions to challenges they might not otherwise experience. Nature is nature, things are never going to happen the way you think they will, and this gives students a chance to learn how to problem-solve and self-regulate.” Usually, an outdoor space is for children to run, jump, and play. “Adding time in the garden helps children focus their attention by digging into the raised garden beds; watering plants, and watching bugs. Children are tuning in their attention and calming down” before reentering the traditional classroom.
School gardens are also a great way to get children to learn about nutrition by helping them make the connection between growing food and proper diets. Leah Shader reported in her article ‘Let it Grow’, that “school gardens provide students with a real-time look at how food is grown.” In a 2017 report published by FoodCorps, schools “that have high-quality opportunities for hands-on nutrition learning result in students who eat up to three times more fruits and vegetables at school lunch regardless of whether or not that food was grown in the garden.” Schools are also incorporating health and nutrition curriculum alongside their school garden. The school gardens are changing the eating habits of the students! This type of curriculum is extending beyond the garden to the school cafeterias, supermarkets, and kitchens at home.