Designing a school garden is the epitome of a real-world experience that will leave a lasting impact and provide learning opportunities for years to come.
School gardens aren’t a new concept. For decades school gardens have provided a place for children to become problem solvers, open their minds to creative possibilities that nature can offer them, and even improve test scores. They are an excellent addition to schools of any size in any climate.
School gardens provide firsthand learning activities. Children can get their hands dirty with digging, tilling, planting, and harvesting. Some classrooms even prep and cook their produce from the garden to come full circle with the process. These activities not only provide an opportunity for the kids to learn about the science behind gardening but also teach essential life skills.
Children can be exposed to necessary social skills in a school garden, such as interpersonal, communication, anger control, and stress management. These skills are extremely important to ensure socially responsible adults. School gardens provide an opportunity for group work to take place. Students can work together to solve and work through problems they might face together. They can make their own decisions, manage crises, and gain a sense of responsibility while working together in their groups.
Orchids The International School always supported the idea- hands-on gardening lessons given to the students increase test scores compared to students who weren’t exposed to the same activities. Teachers are given a garden-based curriculum to provide research-based garden education to children.
School Garden Design
Here, we have listed 5 school garden ideas you can use to design this little learning space:
The school garden can be an exciting and motivating place if planned appropriately according to the education curriculum, allowing students to become more actively involved in their outdoor surroundings. Engage the students to take ownership of designing and building a school garden; they will help them develop a sense of stewardship. Consider the following elements as you begin the design process.
|Teaching/gathering area||Small clearings with benches.|
|Potting benches or tables||For sowing and potting up plants, making paper pots using a press, or seed-saving activities.|
|Fruit and vegetable beds||Raised or in-ground beds; horse trough beds; container gardens.|
|Annual and perennial flower beds||Butterfly and pollinator garden beds.|
|Trees and shrubs||Fruit trees, shrubs, and brambles.|
|Irrigation||Soaker hoses, drip irrigation, and overhead sprinklers.|
|Greenhouse||To extend the growing season and/or as a seed starting area.|
|Storage shed||For storing tools, containers, and seeds.|
|Composting area||Compost bins, tumblers, worm bins,etc.|
|Sink||Washing station for cleaning up hands and harvest.|
|Special features||include Bee condos, ponds, birdhouses, bat houses, theme beds, etc.|
Students learn to work on the ground through school gardens and create a space to learn about their environment. It helps children to develop a connection with their surroundings. It supports better nutrition and can incorporate lessons on healthy eating. School gardens ultimately contribute to connections between students, teachers, the community, food, nature, and sustainability.
School gardens are essential and excellent tools for blended classrooms. It develops environmental awareness in students and imparts practical skills for horticulture. This explicit learning has been proven very effective. The school garden can be an extension of the classroom that connects students to the natural world and helps create responsible caretakers of the planet.
Do you have a school garden? We would love to hear about your experience in designing the school garden! Tell us about it in the comments.