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How to Make the Benefits of a School Garden Meaningful in a Child’s Life

KQED News Mind/Shift – Leah Shafer

“Amid the litany of education reforms that emphasize innovation and new methods, school gardens stand out as a low-tech change. In an era where kids’ lives are more sedentary, and where childhood obesity has risen dramatically, gardens support and encourage healthful eating as a key component of children’s physical wellbeing, which can aid their academic and social success, too. And as the consequences of food deserts and poor nutrition on life outcomes become starker, advocates say that school gardens can act as a counterweight — an outdoor respite for children growing up in environments that can be otherwise unsafe or barren.” (more)

School gardens grow plants, food and stronger students

Education Dive – Lauren Barack

“Teaching students how to have a green thumb today has graduated far beyond sticking toothpicks in an avocado seed, plucking that in a cup of water and watching a bit of greenery grow. More than 25% of public elementary schools nationally had garden programs in their curriculum as of 2013, according to research from Bridging the Gap, a project funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That’s a 133% increase from the 11.3% of elementary schools that had similar programs in 2007.” (more)

Ten Gardening Books to Use in the Classroom

Education World – Kassondra Granata

“Spring is here, and that means it’s time to get outside and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer! One activity that teachers will want to get going is a classroom garden. Gardening is a great way to teach students about how things grow and other important facts about nature and the environment.” (more)

Gardening Activities for Students

Education World – Colleen Newquist

“Few kids can resist the magic of making something grow — digging in the dirt, planting tiny seeds and, with a little sun and water, voila! Life spurts forth, rewarding gardeners with a surge of pride for playing a key role in nature’s miracle. It’s an irresistible combination and a terrific opportunity to teach lessons across the curriculum, from the obvious, such as science, to the less apparent, like literature.” (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)