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26 Ways Students Are Learning About Gardening

26 Ways Students Are Learning About Gardening

From “aster” to “zebragrass,” students at Clinton Street Public School in Toronto are getting an education in the ABCs of gardening.

The school’s ABC Learning Garden, which opened on May 22, consists of 26 plants, one for each letter of the alphabet. The plants were selected by students from Grades 4 to 6, who researched a variety of native plant species and chose the ones they wanted to see in the garden.

What a great way for kids to reconnect with nature and learn about plants!

Clinton Street vice-principal Danielle Hyles-Rainford said the garden was made possible through a $500 Evergreen Foundation grant, donations from the parent council through Clinton’s School Council Wish List Fund and help from others in the community.

From Inside Toronto:

“It’s part of Clinton being an eco school and part of the vibrant community initiative,” she said. “What we want is an enrichment in kids’ knowledge of how to garden and we have one class that’s keen on vermiculture and how worms help as a natural composter.”

While the school’s Grade 4 gifted class helped lead the planting, Clinton Street student Sabbrina Husn Ortiz said the planting of the garden was a total school effort.

“All the classes pitched in to clean outside of the garden and it was hard work,” she said.

The school’s enthusiasm for the garden has not waned over the course of the school year. Students remain excited about maintenance and upkeep, probably due to the fact they were given a chance to take ownership of the site from the very beginning. The school has even appointed eco-monitors, volunteers who will monitor the garden and plant new plants when necessary.

What a great example of how to reconnect children with nature! Kids gain firsthand experience of life cycles and learn patience and responsibility (not to mention their ABCs) as they see how their care affects the garden. Of course, if they’re growing veggies, they also get fresh, delicious food. (Kids who resist store-bought veggies may find their own product much tastier.)

The garden, located in the front of the school, promises to serve as a valuable teaching tool for years to come.

Perhaps they’ve heard about Leo Politi Elementary School in Los Angeles, California, where workers ripped out 5,000 square feet of concrete and planted native flora. The plants attracted insects, which attracted birds, which attracted students. And the students got so caught up in the nature unfolding before them that their science test scores rose sixfold!

These are exciting developments, as we watch children dig, plant, and grow!

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Photo Credit: iStock

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46 comments

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5:43PM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

A truly wonderful project

5:13PM PDT on Jul 7, 2012

What does this story have to do with "Dispatches from the War on Women"?

12:12PM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

A great idea, really!!

4:57AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

A wonderful idea! If only it could be implemented in schools in Athens, Greece, whose yards are just sad concrete surfaces...

2:44AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

Great idea - it was shocking to see Jamie Oliver's "school dinners" series where the kids had NO IDEA what the food they ate came from - it is amazing how much food we eat these days our grandmothers wouldn't recognise....
We need to empower these kids to know they can grow food and survive in what will be a tougher, more expensive and polluted world...they also need to study how human health is not what motivates food companies or politicians.

2:25AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

Any way you look at this, this is an excellent idea--for the children, the school, the environment, and hopefully, for the future.
Kudos to all those involved in the Clinton Street School Garden, and also to the Leo Politi Elementary School in LA.The Leo Politi School has quite a gardening project going that has successfully branched out to include an increase in scientific knowledge--knowledge that increased, "by six-fold", the science-tests scores of these junior gardeners!

9:35PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Teach them young, so that they will appreciate what is really important in life, a respect for nature and to understand that fruit and vegies are real food not fast foods etc.

7:28PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

This is such an unequivoqually great idea that I wonder who the hell is the moron who voted no in the survey !

5:54PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Interesting.

11:55AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Most schools in areas with a lot of poverty really need gardens to grow as much food, especially salad vegetables as possible to help feed the students. Taxpayers really begrudge the money spent on trying to educated poverty stricken students. Anything to help reduce expenses will help that situation, I hope.

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