Gardening in Schools

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by Ramjee, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. Ramjee

    Ramjee Member

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    Vanakkam! Greetings from Chennai, India.
    Am an environmental educator in India. Am trying to initiate a small programme, where the school students are guided do the gardening and landscaping of their campus. Am also trying to make it a part of their regular curricular activity.

    Would any of you, in the group be able to guide us in this venture, or share links to the web pages where electronic version of the curriculum could be found. Your support would be of immense help.
     
  2. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    How old are the students? What are the goals for the curriculum, ie is it to teach only the various aspects of horticulture and landscaping or will it integrate aspects of maths, language, geography, geology, art etc?
    I hope that other teachers follow your lead.
    Best wishes. Margaret
     
  3. Ramjee

    Ramjee Member

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    It is involving the whole school Students of the age 6 to 15. Sky is the limit. The purpose is to landscaping of the school premises by making it as an education process.
    We would like to use it as a part of all the subjects...

    Thank you.

    With kind regards,

    ramjee
     
  4. natureman

    natureman Active Member

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    There are tons of things that they can do to utilize those subjects. You may find this link interesting.

    Art- They can sketch out a garden outline using rulers, and learn how to draw to scale (1in. drawn = 1ft real life)

    Geography- They can learn how varying climates provide different growing areas for plants, then you can speak about soil.

    Language - Plant nomenclature, how different cultures may call the same plant a different name, creating confusion for botanists. :P

    As you said, the sky is the limit. Remember, have fun :D
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Natureman,
    It is very unlikely they will even know what "1in" and "1ft" mean - India, like virtually everywhere, uses metric measures
     
  6. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    I would start by looking at the the what your goals and resources are. Eg. areas of shade, food crops which might also address the shade area by the growth of fruiting trees and vines, identifying particularly challenging areas such as dry or rocky areas with little soil, play and exercise areas and so on. This presents opportunities for students to problem solve, study climate, the movement of the earth in relationship to the sun, the needs of different plants and living organisms including themselves and also environmental issues. Areas could also be measured, graphs made of the land and also of the weather etc. Drawings of what you want to achieve and photographs before, of the work in progress and continuing after could be taken and preparation of foods produces could also be written in. The computer technology might also be involved in research etc. Weather stations and sundials could also be introduced. Resources might include parents and local gardeners (social studies and community outreach).

    I do not know a great deal about the type of plants or curriculum writing in India as my experience is in Canada but that is how I would set about it. I would tie it into as many areas as possible and make it an interesting and fun project both for individual students of all levels of age and abilities. As to if such a curriculum exists, there are probably some and this might be a research project for students to write to such places as botanical gardens, governments and school boards around the world. Google gave me 1260000 hits on "school gardens"!

    The opportunities are endless and I will be VERY interested to hear about the progress. I know where I live more and more stress is being put on "The 100 mile diet" and local food sustainability in response to climate change.

    The very best of luck and I trust that someone with a knowledge of your area and plants or who knows of other resources will jump into the conversation.

    Margaret
     
  7. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    Another thought...... what about twinning your school with others in India and around the world who also have gardens?
    Margaret
     
  8. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If it is a landscaping project you do the most for the kids by presenting it as such, no more, no less. I wouldn't expect to awaken an excitement about horticulture in kids with this task.

    In my experience, kids are interested in their own experience, not in the big picture. Their interest in a garden is on a scale that interests them. My own kids have grown up in my constantly changing yardscape but have never been interested in the big picture, only in the minutiae and the stuff they could really experience - where could they dig, what could they pick, what could they eat, what names could they learn, where could they play.

    To be honest, kids' experience a school the same way. What interests them is not the architecture but what they experience within it. I think it is not a good idea to try to get them to landscape. Give them experiences in the landscape instead.

    My personal suggestion would be to begin by doing the landscape design - it is an adult task and should be done by adults - and incorporate places where children can have experiences. Depending on how much garden experience they already have, I think the first experience should be harvesting - picking flowers, tomatoes, berries... and also the design should give each child a growing spot, even if just a place to put one plant each year they are at the school. Other than that, you can show them the process of landscaping and inform them about it; it may spark interest in some but not in others.

    There is much else that children can learn about and Margaret has given several interesting ideas about trees and shade, about rocks and bugs, and so on. But keep it small - kids need kid-size experiences, not to be faced with things on a global scale before they have their own little place figured out.

    It's not that kids can't learn a lot - again, my own kids are an example. My son could say Euphorbia when he was two, could recognize them, and knew not to touch them. But I guess my point is, that information was relevant to him because it was a safety issue and was in "his own back yard." That is where you will connect with kids - things that are immediately relevant to them. The school's landscaping is irrelevant to the kids, on the whole, as is what is happening at 1260000 other school gardens and in institutions around the world.

    The sky is not the limit. The limit is the children's own needs. Kids want to know "what can I do in this space today and how do I do it." What they do in that space today will enable them to connect themselves to others and to places around the world later, when they grow up. Some may start to stretch in that direction while at the school, but it is not the school's job to dial them in - leave that up to them, later. They will have something to contribute to the global dialogue if the school does its job, focussing on giving them relevant experiences.

    And by the way, I did start a school garden at my kids' school, and this reflects my experiences there as well as at home.
     
  9. Ramjee

    Ramjee Member

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    Dear Friends,
    vanakkam Greetings from Tamil Nadu, India.

    A sincere, heartfelt "Thank You" to all the members of this forum. Special thanks to all of you who took pains to reply and have given us suggestions.

    Margaret, special thanks to you for sharing ideas generously. You would be happy that, some of it we indeed are trying to implement. We've started the programme off with a brain storming session was held with teachers, staff, students, and parents of the school, to identify areas of shade, food crops, rainbow garden, compost pit, rock garden, zodiac garden, puzzle path, etc. We have also started a small weather station where maximum and minimum temperature of the day, rainfall, cloud cover study, etc. are recorded every day. We've tried to team up with some local University/ college professors, and parents. unfortunately, excepting for some parents, no one has come forward.

    Would like to know more about "The 100 mile diet" that you've mentioned. You had also suggested about twinning with schools around the world. We would be more than happy to do that. If you are aware of anyone who's interested, please do let us know.

    Thank you Natureman, thank you for your suggestion. We would definitely have our students take up the task of drawing a map of smaller areas of the place to scale.

    Michael, we do not use Inches and feet, but our students are aware of these measurements as well.

    KarinL, thank you for sharing your experiences. We try to follow the known to unknown path and start it in pieces. In fact the entire school campus has been divided into areas for each standard 1 to 9 (K1 to K9?) May be if your school would like to twin-up with our school, please let me know. it could be a wonderful learning opportunity for students to exchange their learning...

    Thank you and look forward to more ideas pouring in.
    ramjee
     
  10. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    You seem to be very well on the way with the project. It can be difficult to get volunteers.
    The 100 mile diet is based on a book of the same name which was written by a BC couple. For a year they ate only food which was produced and processed within a 100 miles of their home. Someone has worked out that the average Canadian's meal travels about 1500 miles as much of the food is imported from abroad or comes across our very large country. The 100 mile diet aims to reduce the carbon footprint while at the same time supporting local producers and providing fresher and more healthy food. From my angle I could not commit to be a 100% true to such a diet but I am certainly now thinking more carefully before I shop and I am growing more food. The Sunshine Coast also has a publically funded facilitator who encourages private and commercial gardeners and food producers so that this area, which can only be reached by ferry, can be more self sufficient.
    I will ask around to see if anyone is interested in twinning. It might also be worthwhile posting a new thread asking if any contributors know anyone who would be interested. (Would that be ok Eric?)
    Best wishes.
    Margaret
     
  11. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    This sounds like an exciting project. You may find this Canadian website useful - in particular their webpages on the Learning Grounds. The PDFs are downloadable. Also from their website...Evergreen Learning Grounds helps schools create outdoor classrooms to provide students with a healthy place to play, learn and develop a genuine respect for nature

    http://www.evergreen.ca/en/lg/lg-resources.html

    According to their website Evergreen's Mission is
    "...to bring communities and nature together for the benefit of both. We engage people in creating and sustaining healthy, dynamic outdoor spaces - in our schools, our communities and our homes. We believe that local stewardship creates vibrant neighbourhoods, a healthy natural environment and a sustainable society for all.

    Good Luck and please keep us posted.
     
  12. natureman

    natureman Active Member

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    Come on man, you know what I meant.
     
  13. mrtree

    mrtree Active Member

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    Ramjee,
    First things first, Dhoni rules! NOw for the non-cricket fans:
    I think you are doing an incredible important job. I do not believe that a person can appreciate the earth if they have not touched it. There is a wonderful book called "Last Child in the Woods" by Louv that is a must read. IT talks about the importance of connecting people to the land.
    I recently returned from Argentina and there was a school in Buenos Aires, next to the botanical gardens in Palermo district that billed itself as a garden school. What a fantastic place, great trees and plants all around and a chance to really learn and connect to the world.
    As others have said there is so much you can do, the one thing is to make it magical for them and let the students think they are leading the charge.

    Michael
     
  14. patshannon

    patshannon Member

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    Hi Ramjee,

    I am a teacher in Vancouver, Canada. I will be implementing an "umbrella" sustainability unit with my school this year, focusing on Bees and developing and growing a garden with the children (K-7). I would love to twin with you and your students - what a great opportunity for our kids (and us!). Let me know if you are interested.
    Best,
    Shannon
     
  15. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Shannon. Took the liberty of emailing Ramjee as I don't know if he still logs on to this site. If you want to email just click on the his name at the top of his posts, go to his information and then to email. Just a thought. Margaret
     
  16. Ramjee

    Ramjee Member

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    Dear Ms. Shannon!
    Vanakkam! Greetings from Tamil Nadu, India.
    As Margaret had mentioned I was not logging into the forum regularly. Thanks to her e-mail I woke up again!
    Thank a million to you for reverting back and expressing interest in twinning-up with our school on this programme. Unfortunately the Green Garden Educator of our school programme has quit and we're are on the look out for a new person, who should be in place, hopefully by this weekend. Keeping fingers crossed!
    Please let me have your e-mail address and we can discuss on the possible ways of collaborating with one another.
    Thank you again.
    With kind regards,
    ramjee

     
  17. Ramjee

    Ramjee Member

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    Dear Ms Margaret,
    Vanakkam! Greetings from Tamil Nadu, India.
    Thank you for your mail, but for which we would have lost a golden opportunity!
    Thank you again.
    regards,
    ramjee

     
  18. Ramjee

    Ramjee Member

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    Dear Mr. Michael,
    Vanakkam! Greetings from Tamil Nadu, India.
    Indeed Dhoni Rules! He's been awarded the highest and most prestigious Kel Ratna (Gem of a Sports Person) award for the sports person in our country. Only Sachin has won this award prior to this!
    Can you share some contact details of the school in Argentina? Would be a great opportunity to learn and work with them!
    Thank you.
    with kind regards,
    ramjee

     
  19. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Shannon and Ramjee.
    Am really interested to hear how both of your projects go. If you would like to please drop me emails.
    Perhaps other teachers, parents and students from all around the world would find all of this interesting and exciting.
    Best wishes from a very sunny Sunshine Coast.
    Margaret
     
  20. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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