Students love every opportunity they get to spend outside of the classroom. They are interested in the world and its inner workings, so, obviously, they want to explore it! Gardening classes are being more and more introduced to schools across the country, and they are a great way to make use of the students’ natural curiosity and let them have fun while they are developing important qualities.
What’s more, is that planning vegetation and caring for it is incredibly engaging, and a lot of students really like this activity. The idea of gardening classes is rapidly spreading throughout the US, and more and more schools try to incorporate a garden for students. Let’s see how horticulture activities affect the students and, ultimately, their learning.
This aspect is probably one of the most relevant and important points to instill and develop in students, as, in recent years, the problem of climate change is becoming more and more of a disastrous issue. By having students connect to nature and become aware of how fragile it is, the students realize that nature has to be preserved rather than destroyed.
Many educators believe that such early interaction with nature will develop thoughtfulness in students. The climate change situation is approaching critical levels of emergency, and gardening classes are aimed at expanding the view of current students/future fully-fledged adults to include the question of environment preservation.
Now that we’ve discussed the general outcomes of the gardening classes let’s turn our attention to the specific activities that students complete during a gardening class. Firstly, there is the physical aspect of caring for vegetation. This activity develops the students’ motor skills: you must be very precise in your movements when handling plants, especially small ones and ones that haven’t yet grown out.
Younger students don’t have yet fully developed motor skills, and the physical aspect of carefully planting, removing weeds, and watering plays a big role in the improvement of the students’ hand dexterity. Attending gardening classes will be a definite plus in the students’ future when they have to write an essay review after a research paper, after a report, and after countless other school tasks.
Additionally, caring for plants requires dedication and determination. You can’t really seed something and just forget about it while it magically grows. That doesn’t happen: students have to attend to the garden regularly and in an organized fashion, which teaches them a valuable lesson in responsibility.
A significant part of gardening classes is that students are usually grouped together to equally distribute work between them and make the gardening activity more engaging for the students. For this reason, students have to find common grounds and communicate with each other, as they try to complete their common task. This single aspect of working in a team does tons for students in terms of developing mutual respect, communication, organization, and reasoning skills.
Additionally, being not in a formal environment (like a classroom) facilitates and promotes discussion in students. In the garden, they become more open to talking about something they would feel uncomfortable talking in the classroom. Gradually, just talking with their group, which doesn’t consist entirely out of their friends, makes students more confident while they’re in the classroom.
One of the biggest critiques of our education system is that it’s too theoretical and abstract. More often than not, the students scratch their heads, not knowing how to wrap their heads around the newly-presented topic to them, because they have no idea how it applies to the real world. The gardening classes present a great opportunity for the children to see on practice how some of the knowledge they acquire applies in practice.
Furthermore, during gardening classes, the students care for vegetation, and they can clearly see the result of their actions. If they’re doing everything well and caring for the plants regularly, then they see how the plants gradually become stronger, higher, thicker. In the end, the students might even get a tasty vegetable that they solely cultivated – what a realization!
In the other case, if the students aren’t doing everything properly, then they see how the plant gets surrounded by weeds and how weak it becomes. In either case, gardening develops independence in students: they become more self-assured and individualistic, seeing how they can change the world with their own hands.
All in all, gardening helps students become strong and active participants in life. As a result of gardening education, students become independent and confident in their abilities. So, sometimes, it’s a very good idea to get your hands a bit dirty in education.