Have you ever asked your students where food comes from? Wouldn’t it be great not only for your students to have a better understanding of where their food comes from, but to take an active role in growing some of it themselves?
Planting a teaching garden is like building an outdoor classroom. A garden can be used as a valuable educational tool. Just by planning and planting, you'll already be teaching the children about what a plant needs to grow and where food comes from. Gardens are the perfect launching pad for student-directed inquiry.
What valuable lessons can students derive from a garden?
- Teach basic math skills in both the planting and harvesting stages. Older children can use the garden to think about cost analysis, using simple addition and subtraction.
- A school garden provides built-in nutrition education. Children can pick fruits and vegetables for a healthy afternoon snack, and the garden can provide hands-on education about the food groups.
- Teach lessons in history through gardening. You might grow a "three sisters" garden, which was a Native American companion planting technique including corn, beans, and squash.
The possibilities of lessons learned from your school garden are endless. Read how Christine Palermo, a head start teacher in Philadelphia, teaches her students by planting and maintaining a garden.