Exposing children to gardening at an early age teaches them about sustainability and how to positively impact the environment.
Students learn they are able to be self sustainable once they can grow and produce food on their own. Often times, when there is an abundance of food, students will learn to share the wealth and sustain others.
Through gardening, students gain a sense of responsibility when nurturing living plants. Students learn to meet the plant’s needs so the plants can help meet our own needs. Students will also be developing new vocabulary through learning about gardening.
By growing and harvesting their own food, students can learn how to make healthier lifestyle choices by cooking unprocessed foods. Early Childhood News states, “Through the studies of plants, children become aware of how people depend on plant life as the source of food, clothing, and shelter” (Tomlin, 2008).
Gardening in education has endless benefits and all students should have the opportunity to learn and implement the basics of gardening.
In the realm of environmental science, sustainability is defined as, “The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance” (Dictionary.com, 2017).
Currently, our planet is facing the effects of years of neglect and unsustainable energy sources. We are seeing a rise in temperature averages, destructive storms, and severe droughts. Humans are dying from starvation in parts of the world, while other parts are throwing away food because it doesn’t look good enough to sell.
By giving students the opportunity to grow food, prepare food, and share food, we are slowly hacking away at some of the world’s biggest current problems. Creating sustainability within communities is key to surviving in this ever changing world.
Students respond very well to tasks or “jobs”. Assigning a hands on task to children empowers them and gives them value. By showing children they can make a change and create something valuable through gardening fills them with pride and responsibility. Giving students the opportunity to ground themselves in a garden helps them understand the importance of creating a sustainable community, while helping our environment.
A NAEYC article stated, “We have come to view the garden as a unique place between the natural environment and the social environment, one where children can create a meaningful cultural relationship between the work of humans and the complexities and unknowns of the natural world” (Nimmo, 2008). This statement resonates because of its transparent honesty.
Children in the garden learn more than just play, bugs and plants. They learn about humanity, sustainability, and develop an awareness of environmentalism.
Dictionary.com (2017). Sustainability. Retrieved May 22, 2017, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/sustainability
Nimmo , J., & Hallett, B.Nimmo , J., & Hallett, B. (2008, January). Childhood in the Garden [PDF]. NAEYC.