As any parent can no doubt attest, kids like dirt. In Canada, teachers are taking advantage of that impulse with seeds and soil that teach kids vital lessons about food, sustainability, and the environment.
In fact, school gardens are getting so popular up north that the Canadian charity Nutrients for Life this week launched a school garden network, complete with case studies, lesson guides and rabbit-proofing advice for teachers.
Dr. Maurice DiGiuseppe, an Ontario education professor, researches the learning potential of school gardens. He has noticed a shift from aesthetic gardens at schools to ones that grow produce and herbs in courtyards and greenhouses.
"What they’re starting to change into now is not just plants and greenery for aesthetic or environmental purposes," he said Dr. DiGiuseppe. "We’re starting to see more gardening for educational and social purposes."
The experience-based learning that school gardens provide has a lasting impression on kids, according to Toronto elementary teacher Kim Atwill-Bradbury. Out in the school garden, she lets her students be guided by their own curiosity, before summoning them to the classroom for a lesson.
"It’s a way to make teaching more authentic," she said.
(via The Globe and Mail)
Photos: Deborah Baic; Rafal Gerszak