I personally enjoy a bit of gardening. Luckily, I was born with green thumbs, and my grandmother put in a lot of effort to teach me the intricacies of tending a garden. Some children were not so lucky, and I feel that they missed out on a real-life experience that has real value too. I firmly believe that gardening should be in schools, and you are about to find out why.
As the world is becoming more aware of the environmental impact of humans, I personally feel that learning about gardening can help children to learn this awareness early on. I am a hobby gardener myself, which means that I can while away many hours in the garden doing a bit of “this and that”. It’s not just a great way to pass the time but also serves as an excellent stress reliever. Nothing makes me feel more emotionally and spiritually rested than losing myself in a few hours of gardening.
Being able to pass on such an incredibly rewarding skill to your children will add value to their life, and yours. Below, I take a look at each of the 12 reasons why gardening should be taught in schools. Read on to learn more.
These are 12 reasons why kids should learn how to garden in school.
1. Learning gardening creates awareness of the human-environment connection.
Children nowadays seem to be brought up oblivious to how they are connected to the world around them. They wake up and food is provided. They go to school, as well as to extracurricular activities, and never give a second thought to where they are, why they are there, and what their personal presence has on the environment and other people too. Learning gardening requires children to understand their connection with the environment early on.
2. Gardening boosts planning & organizational skills.
Gardens need to be meticulously planned and must feature a logical and scientifically sound layout. For instance, garden beds must be placed in aesthetically pleasing spots, but also in areas that get enough sunshine, have easy access to water, and aren’t plagued with pests. The garden beds also need to feature plants that do well in certain environmental conditions. For instance, some plants do well in the sun, while others only thrive in shady, cool spots.
In order to grow a garden successfully, kids need to learn how to plan and effectively organize their space.
3. Kids enjoy moderate exercise when gardening.
Getting kids to actively exercise and stay fit can be hard nowadays (thanks to the multitude of devices that they have access to). If they know that the task at hand is actually “work” that they are doing, they tend to shy away from it. For many kids, gardening is fun and, therefore, not hard to get them involved in. It is also a great way to get some exercise and fresh air.
Gardening will have kids digging beds and holes, pulling out weeks, chopping back hedges and trees, pushing wheelbarrows, and so on. It is a great workout.
4. Gardening promotes healthy eating & lifestyles.
When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle and eating right, kids that understand the concept of gardening tend to do better in this particular area of their lives. While learning how to tend a garden, teachers can use the opportunity to teach children about healthy and nutritional eating. Kids can be taught the health benefits of organic home-grown fruit and veggies and can also be taught the dangers of using chemical or poison-based pesticides.
5. Learning how to garden teaches the importance of personal investment.
While the task of planting and tending a garden might seem like hard work, kids quickly learn the value of their (time, as well as resources) investment. The value is first realized when flowers bloom, trees produce fruit, and vegetables are ready to be harvested and enjoyed. This exciting process teaches children that through the investment of hard work and time, the rewards can be highly enjoyable.
6. Gardening teaches kids about responsibility.
It can be hard to teach children about responsibility. Learning how to garden can help both teachers and parents get a head start on teaching kids about responsibility. Did you know that gardening, arguably, teaches the ultimate lesson in how and why to be responsible? In order to tend a garden, kids need to plant the correct plants, water the garden, and ensure that the plants are receiving the right nutrition. When kids are not responsible and become slack, the garden will start to show it. It is a great way for kids to learn how to be responsible.
7. Gardening is a great form of stress relief.
Just like adults, kids experience stress and they need an outlet for it. Some adults garden, do yoga or go to the spa for stress relief. Kids are often overlooked when it comes to stress relief activities, besides sports. Gardening is an excellent way for children to get their minds off their regular daily stresses and do something completely different and enjoyable. And that is great for relieving stress and even keeping anxiety in check.
8. Learning gardening encourages positive social and interpersonal skills.
When gardening, kids learn to communicate about something that they have in common: the success of the garden. It teaches children to forget the childish playground dramas and focus on socializing on another level. It is great for teaching kids to differentiate between the different social and interpersonal behaviors. When children are working together for a common cause, they learn to communicate differently. Kids obsessed with gardening are also less likely to get themselves in other forms of trouble.
9. Gardening enhances mood (mental health benefits).
You might be wondering how gardening can enhance a child’s mood. Chances are that most kids do not want to spend several hours a day in the classroom. Kids go through moods, as well as ups and downs, just like adults do. In order to ensure that children develop stable mental health and do not suffer poor moods, it’s important to incorporate some fun activities in the day that boost endorphins.
Endorphins are “feel good” hormones that make life feel more exciting and enjoyable. We all need them; kids and adults alike. Offering a break from the classroom and time outdoors in the garden is a great way to boost a child’s mood. Having a break from the reality of daily classes, tasks and chores to focus on something enjoyable is also great for mental health.
10. Learning to garden provides a life skill or possible career path.
Gardening, landscaping, and even garden maintenance are life skills that can be used for an entire lifespan, not just while at school. But it’s about more than that – all of these tasks can also become a viable career path for a child. Nowadays, professional gardeners and landscapers are revered for their exceptional creativity, and they can earn a good wage too.
By providing children with the opportunity to learn about gardening early on, they can start to build an interest in the hobby/art, which could eventually turn into a long-term job or career path.
11. Gardening builds self-confidence.
In order for a child to successfully tend a garden, they need to trust their own skills and judgment. By teaching children how to garden and ensuring that they have access to all the resources, tools, and knowledge they require to succeed, confidence can be effectively boosted. As a child learns more about gardening and sees their efforts flourish, the more confidence he/she will gain. This can be extremely beneficial to all areas of a child’s life.
12. Learning to garden develops team-work.
Children attending gardening classes do not work alone. They are required to work together in order to get the garden flourishing. This provides a unique way to teach children what it means to work as a team. Children can learn which kids are skilled in certain areas, and tasks can be delegated so that children share the workload and develop skills that they may be lacking while also capitalizing on their strengths.
As you can tell, I have put quite a lot of thought into this. While I strongly believe that kids should be taught how to garden in school, schools would need to ensure that they hire the knowledgeable services of a teacher who can inspire interest and enjoyment in children of various ages. I think that gardening would be a great class for school kids – what do you think?