Keeping kids happy and healthy in school gardens isn’t too difficult – after all, kids love dirt. They also enjoy being outside, and eating.
Schools are finding that gardens not only reinforce lessons in nutrition, math, biology, and chemistry, but also life lessons in self sufficiency, sustainability, and life in general.
“School gardens have positive and far-reaching impacts on the students, educators, families, and communities with which they are associated,” explains Forsyth Cooperative Extension Service’s community gardening coordinator Alison Duncan. “They are unique educational spaces that foster physical, emotional, and mental growth.”
According to garden mentor Wendy Wallace-Banks, the 15 students at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy regularly participate in the full range of gardening activities at the Title 1 school.
“Gardening is not just about planting the seed,” says Wallace-Banks, a teaching assistant. “The students learn lots of other lessons. They learn to work as a team, and senior gardeners work with younger gardeners and learn leadership skills.” Students learn about the science of decay and the importance of irrigation while also learning to take care of the environment.