Grow into learning with school fruit and vegetable gardens-A A +A
Thursday, September 26, 2013
By Hilaria R. Palayao
A GREAT way to teach ecological literacy and respect for the Earth, along with important food production skills, is to help your students grow a garden. So get your hands dirty, grow something both healthy and delicious, and teach your students what might end up being the most important thing they ever learn.
Many believe that learning at school happens only inside the classroom. Now we recognize that the whole school environment is involved in children's development. The school grounds are: a source of food for improving children's diet and health; a source of healthy influences (clean drinking water, physical activity, hygienic latrines, washbasins, school meals); an area for learning (about nature, agriculture, nutrition); a place of pleasure and recreation (flowers and shrubs, play areas, shade, eating areas); a continuing lesson in respecting the environment and taking pride in one's school.
Tarmac, dry earth, mud and empty fields are turning into green grounds, outdoor laboratories, vegetable plots, herb gardens, play spaces and study areas. School gardens are leading this change.
School gardens can take variety of forms, from the simplest containers outside a classroom to a multi-plot, in-ground garden featuring seating areas and a greenhouse. But the size of your garden should not limit its potential to contribute to the learning environment.
Children love experimenting and are naturally enthusiastic and curious which is the perfect recipe for gardening. They are not put off easily and learn quickly. Watching food grow and tasting it at leisure is a much more pleasurable way of educating children with regards to health, nutritional eating – much more appetizing that graphs of food to eat and not to eat.
School gardens can make a real difference to children’s health. They can: give children nutrient-rich fruit and vegetables which are lacking in their diet; show children how to grow, prepare and eat them; encourage families to grow them too; help children to understand what makes a good diet; help children to like nutritious home-grown food; and show children the link between what they grow, what they eat and how they feel.
The garden must benefit the children and be seen to do so. Food produced by the garden will be for the children, income will be for the school, education will be a clear priority.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 27, 2013.