Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?
Gardening and spending time in nature has many benefits for children’s development.
Our deep connection to nature is nothing new. But in the spring of 2020, it was no surprise that Americans of all ages revisited that connection. The week before several state lockdowns began, garden suppliers saw sales of plants, seeds, and bulbs hit record highs.
Perhaps now more than ever, as many students were recently relegated to indoor, remote classrooms, the value of nature cannot be overstated. In order to nurture the whole child, they should be encouraged to learn all the time and everywhere.
Research has shown time and again that even small doses of outdoor engagement help children grow and develop more holistically. One study compared students randomly assigned to take science lessons in a classroom to those in a school garden and found outdoor lessons more effective for learning—and the more time they spent in the garden, the greater their gains.
The Children’s School is proud to be a registered Outdoor Classroom Project demonstration site. Anything that children can do inside, they do outside instead. Utilizing outdoor areas, we provide unique opportunities that aren’t available indoors. From growing plants and vegetables to cooking and eating them, to learning about the leaves and bugs that inhabit our yards, not only do children benefit with more physical activity, but they are also encouraged to become better stewards of their environment.
In a world that may seem overwhelming and unstable to children, gardening and spending time in nature encourages a sense of responsibility and engages all their senses. By teaching students to plant, nurture, grow, harvest, clean, and eat the food that they grow or to hike local trails and enjoy outdoor parks and gardens, you can foster a respect for nature and desire to take care of it that will last a lifetime.
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