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How a school garden has transformed the way we teach

The Guardian – Tim Baker

“It was in 2004 that I decided to install a garden at Charlton Manor Primary School. I’d just taken up the role of headteacher, and there was some derelict land on the school site. I’d seen the news reports about children lacking knowledge of where their food came from and felt that we as a society had become very detached about food. The reason for this was clear to me: we were no longer educating our children about food in schools.”(more)

Playing brain games ‘of little benefit’, say experts

BBC – Staff Writer

“Brain training games may not provide the benefits to brain health they claim to, according to experts. Instead, a report from the Global Council on Brain Health recommends that people engage in stimulating activities such as learning a musical instrument, designing a quilt or gardening. It said the younger a person started these activities, the better their brain function would be as they aged.”(more)

Garden-enhanced intervention improved BMI and nutrition knowledge of California students

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“The factors that affect rates of childhood obesity are complex. For example, parent feeding practices have been shown to be influential, but that influence has also been shown to change with age. Factors such as access to fruits and vegetables and the availability of safe space for physical exercise have also been associated with a risk for obesity. Because schools can act as a focal point for engaging students, families, educators, administrators, and community members, researchers implemented and evaluated a multicomponent, school-based nutrition intervention in an attempt to improve children’s dietary behaviors and prevent childhood obesity. Their results are published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.”(more)

Some schools trading the blacktop for greentop as an innovative way to teach science

Ed Source – Carolyn Jones

“Some students in California don’t have to take field trips to parks or national forests for environmental education – they just open their classroom door. To supplement their science and environmental curricula, hundreds of schools across the state have busted up their asphalt play yards and replaced them with wood chips, trees, flowers, shrubs and vegetables. The new gardens don’t just add greenery to the schoolyard; they help teachers implement California’s new science standards, which emphasize hands-on learning, and crossover between scientific disciplines.”(more)

San Pasqual students grow to appreciate agriculture with Harvest Day

The San Diego Union-Tribune – Laura Groch

“In June, the students at San Pasqual Union elementary school planted pumpkins in their Sage School Garden. And when they harvested them recently, the kids got a lot more than pumpkins out of the ground. The school’s third annual Harvest Day was a celebration not only of nature, but of just about everything that goes onto the plate and that helps it arrive there: fruits, vegetables, dairy products; heirloom seeds, butterflies and bees; recycling, soils and compost; farm animals and plants.”(more)

What High Tech Urban Farms Can Teach Kids About Tinkering

KQED News Mind/Shift – Chris Berdik

“On the cramped urban campus of Boston Latin School, high-school students grow an acre’s worth of vegetables in an old shipping container that’s been transformed into a computer-controlled hydroponic farm. Using a wall-mounted keyboard or a mobile app, the student farmers can monitor their crops, tweak the climate, make it rain and schedule every ultraviolet sunrise. In a few decades, nine billion people will crowd our planet, and the challenge of sustainably feeding everybody has sparked a boom in high-tech farming that is now budding up in schools. These farms offer hands-on learning about everything from plant physiology to computer science, along with insights into the complexities and controversies of sustainability. The school farms are also incubators, joining a larger online community of farm hackers.”(more)