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Letter: Educational growth

Bring the classroom into the garden!

Environmental education allows students to engage in their world, experience the outdoors and most importantly excite students about learning. Specifically, school garden projects are a fun, easy way to enrich school curricula while also adhering to state standards for education. The projects foster environmental awareness and develop community-oriented citizens. Learning about the environment through garden-based learning is interdisciplinary and can be incorporated into the core disciplines such as natural sciences, math, English, music or art.

Not only are students able to practice basic math skills, write a poem about a tomato or learn about the water cycle, they are able to cultivate a connection and passion for their environment that can be lacking in our technology driven society. Schools can also lessen costs by developing a school farmer’s market, selling within and outside the school. In Berkeley, Calif., the MLK Edible Schoolyard demonstrates how successful a school garden project can be. The students at MLK start their day in the garden working in groups to perform daily tasks such as garden maintenance, planting, composting or harvesting. Aside from the tasks in the garden, students also cook with garden harvests allowing them to experience a connection to the food they eat. This can help to build pride and provide the students with real life skills, which is especially important in our world today where children are often distant from the origins of their food.

It is my belief, that an enhanced connection to our environment through garden based learning, will create richer and healthier communities and develop a deeper awareness of the environment.

JENNA SPOONER

Conway

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