School gardening becomes more popular in the United States
School gardening became very popular during the coronavirus health crisis, with families and teachers saying its hands-on lessons can be used to teach many subjects.
Finding the money to support a school garden can be difficult. Some experts and teachers, however, are finding creative ways to make it work.
Susan Hobart is a retiree elementary teacher at Lake View Elementary School in Madison, Wisconsin
She oversees the school’s large garden with 12 raised beds.
“Gardens are a great way to get children out with a specific purpose. With gardens, children see a beginning, a middle and an end to their project, with tangible results, ”she said.
Tangible means easily visible or recognizable.
Hobart added that the gardens help to calm ‘children and give them a whole different perspective they wouldn’t have just been sitting at their desks.
Each spring, the school program grows plant seedlings through a training program at a nearby prison. A religious group comes during spring break to prepare the garden for the return of the children. During the summer, a volunteer takes care of the garden.
“If we were to buy the plants, they would cost $ 3 each and we could never afford it,” says Hobart.
“If you take a look at your connections and the community around you, then at all the larger networks, there are many creative ways to find help.”
Toby Adams runs the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden, where school children learn how to grow food.
Adams said interest in school gardens increased after Michelle Obama planted a garden at the White House and invited school children to help. Adams added that there has been another surge in interest since the onset of the coronavirus health crisis.
School gardens can teach classes in health, science, social studies, and even the arts.
“Give children the opportunity to go out, get their hands dirty and find toward, especially if their teachers are enthusiastic about it – it’s huge, ”Adams said.
For schools with no space, even for a small garden, looking to botanical gardens and local parks can sometimes be the solution.
“We’re located in the Bronx, which is basically six story wall-to-wall apartments. “Space is limited and vandalism, and it’s hard to find a good place to gather 30 kids, let alone issues like access to water, ”says Adams.
Adams said the gardens don’t have to take up a large area outside. “It could be a container garden … there are all kinds of gardens and ways to operate,” he said.
Ron Finley supports the teaching of seeds and cultivation to the children of the city. His non-profit Ron Finley project aims to ‘change the culture around food’.
Finley remembers being amazed as a child when he saw how “a seed … is destroyed to become food”.
“Having a garden in a school is just as important as any other education,” says Finley.
Finley used the term reverence, or honor or respect that is shown, when talking about gardening.
“The act of gardening teaches you where our food source comes from and teaches you to respect the soil. If children have a reverence for the soil, they have a reverence for themselves and respect for this planet … Gardening is not a hobby, it’s a life skill. I see this as one of the most valuable lessons of mankind. ”
I am John Russell.
Katherine Roth reported on this story for The Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Susan Shand was the editor.
Words in this story
elementary – adj. of or relating to primary school; concerning or teaching the basic subjects of education
perspective – not. a way of thinking and understanding something (such as a particular problem or life in general)
Earthworm – not. a long, slender animal that has a soft body without legs or bones and often lives in the ground
vandalism – not. deliberately destroying or damaging property
hobby – not. an activity that a person does for fun when not working