Our School Allotment has been in place now for 15 years. It was installed following a successful grant from the National Lottery. We use the Allotment on a regular basis with all of our children and families. Gardening offers so many fun and interesting opportunities for children, and teaches them invaluable lessons.
They can learn about the different species of plants and what those plants need to help them grow. They also get to learn about the different seasons, weather and the affects they have on the plants. It also offers an opportunity to learn about different shapes and colours, and different animals and insects they might come across.
Here are just a few benefits of gardening with children:
Gardening engages all sorts of senses and helps children to develop and recognise them without even realising. They can feel the texture of soil, seeds, flower and petals. They get to smell all the amazing flower scents and see all the colourful petals.
It also helps develop hand-eye coordination and builds physical strength. Gardening is quite physical and requires the body to work hard digging, carrying, lifting, sieving, watering etc.
As children garden, they develop important motor skills that will help them improve their academic skills such as writing, cutting and typing.
Encourages Healthy Eating
It’s a well-known fact that if you engage children in growing their own vegetables, they gain a keen interest in eating them too.
It can sometimes be a real struggle to get children to eat healthy foods and enjoy them. Growing vegetables not only teaches them the hard work that it takes to grow them, but they get a sense of achievement knowing they are eating food they have grown themselves.
It’s not just the process of growing them, but learning about all the different fruits and vegetables they can grow, when is best to grow certain ones, and the process when it’s time to harvest.
It’s good to teach children about the preparation of food too, from harvest to cooking. There are so many valuable lessons they can learn which all help towards encouraging healthier lifestyles moving through their lives. With the recent addition of our outdoor kitchen we now have a space to prepare and make food together.
Teaches Responsibility & Patience
Growing any sort of plant or vegetable from the seedling or bulb stage requires daily attention and care. Children will quickly learn they get out what they put in. If the plants aren’t regularly watered and taken care of, they won’t flourish.
Gardening is a great way to teach responsibility, but, it is no overnight process. Children will need to learn to be patient when waiting for their flowers and vegetables to grow.
They will also need to remain engaged in the process and keep looking after their flowers even when there are no clear results. The anticipation will make the moment their flower or vegetables sprout, even more exciting.
Develops Social Skills
Especially in schools, gardening can be a very sociable activity. Children can learn to work together and will enjoy discussing different types of flower, and process they have carried out to plant their seeds. The anticipation of waiting for whose flower will shoot through the soil first will encourage children to interact and engage. Gardening presents wonderful opportunities for children to bond and help each other look after and nurture their flowers.
See below for a few images from our school allotment…