To understand nature, one must nurture it.
If you think about that statement for a while, you will soon begin to realise the importance of nurturing nature. After all, it is the life and soul of this planet we live on. Preserving it, understanding it and nurturing it is very important. And the only way to successfully do that is to start small. To start young.
In fact, kids should be taught about the value of nature quite early on. Their inherent curiosity and eagerness to learn more can help them better grasp the role of nature in life. Something which can be easily inculcated in them with the help of school gardens.
An old concept, school gardens play a significant role in the holistic development of your child. However, in a bid to add extra features such as pools, AC classrooms, and sports courts, many schools skimp on having a garden on their campus.
This is not ideal as the importance of school gardens cannot be ignored. Let us find out more about a school garden’s value below.
The importance of gardening in school
The aim of every parent, every teacher, and every institution for that matter, is to help in the holistic development of a child. While academics can be taken care of in the classroom and sports in the play courts, the more abstract values of responsibility, care and empathy may require a different avenue.
Enter school gardening. School gardens can be highly instrumental in helping your kids establish a healthy relationship with nature. By establishing early interactions with nature, kids who participate in gardening activities in school get to understand the way nature works.
They also get hands-on experience with skills such as digging, planting, pruning etc. which can help them comprehend the science that goes into gardening while assimilating basic life skills. What’s more, many schools cook the produce that grows in their garden, thus encouraging kids to eat their greens. Which, to be honest, can be a very big challenge otherwise!
So that is it about the importance of gardening in schools, now let us take a look at its benefits.
Benefits of school gardening for student
By now you are probably convinced that school gardens should be an absolute must-have! However, if you are still on the fence, the benefits of school gardening might just convince you.
- Gives your kids a dose of vitamin D
- Promotes strength and good sleep
- Keeps your kids stress-free
- Improves social skills
- Inculcates the value of patience
As children move further away from outdoor games to indoor video games, their vitamin D dose has taken a massive hit. It is estimated that 50-90% of kids in India suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Luckily, gardening is an activity that can help beat that. Since it happens outdoors, just half an hour’s exposure to the sun can fix the problem of insufficient vitamin D levels.
Many of you may not know this but gardening is an exercise. Activities involved in gardening such as raking, digging or potting plants are quite a bit of work and can be counted as moderate exercise as they use every muscle of your body. This kind of moderate exercise can be very beneficial for your kids, helping them build strength and preventing childhood obesity. In fact, it can also promote sound sleep as studies show those who garden frequently sleep better.
Stress can arise at any age. Even your kids can experience it due to things like study pressure, upcoming exams, fights with a best friend etc. While low levels of stress are normal, high levels of stress can be problematic. Gardening in schools though can help mitigate stress to a large extent. According to a particular study conducted in 2011, gardening has been proven to reduce cortisol levels after a stressful event.
In schools, gardening is a team activity. Kids are divided up into groups and they have to work together to tend to the garden. This aspect of the activity can help kids develop social skills and inculcate in them the value of team spirit. Besides that, it can also improve their problem-solving skills as they work together to find a fix to any issues they may face while gardening.
Another one of the benefits of school gardening for students is developing the value of patience. Gardening is a slow activity that requires meticulousness and patience for results to show up. As children watch their planted seeds grow into fruits and flowers over months, they realise that it takes time and effort to build, to create something truly beautiful and valuable. And that is a great trait to have!
Garden design ideas for schools
Now that we have spoken the importance and the benefits of gardening, let us delve into how schools can incorporate gardens into their existing structure!
- Vertical gardens
- Gardens with pergolas
Schools that do not have enough space for a dedicated garden can add a vertical garden to an empty wall with the help of recycled materials. Plants can be hung from old plastic bottles and shrubs and herbs can be grown in painted tyres stacked against on top of each other. It is a great eco-friendly initiative!
Since kids will be spending a lot of time outdoors tending to their school garden, it is important for the garden to offer some shade. Gardens built around a pergola can give students some much needed respite from the heat while making planting and pruning more fun!
This is an excellent garden design idea for schools as it can help them gardening a year-round activity! Greenhouses can help students closely analyse and study the produce they grow while encouraging them to grow plants that do not thrive outdoors, or are not possible to cultivate during a particular season.
School gardening can be a great addition to the curriculum due all of the benefits listed above. It can help shape eco-friendly citizens of tomorrow! At EuroKids, that is exactly what we strive to do! All of our campuses feature gardens and gardening classes which students can make use of. Drop by EuroKids centre to know more.