All the readings for this week, except for Hartmann, gave a lot of information on how community gardens are helpful. Mainly focused on were the student led gardens in the Edible School Yard programs invested In to primarily California schools and as mentioned In the reading even in Australia. In the following I will assess these readings, finding topics they have In common and disagree on and dissect them as best as possible. Starting off with “Growing Community: The Impact of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program on the Social and Learning Environment in Primary Schools” y Karen Block, et.
All, the article presents results from a mixed-method evaluation of a structures cooking and gardening program in Australia primary school. The program focused on impacts on the social and learning environment of the school, in particular, the authors addressed the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program objective of providing a pleasurable experience that has a positive impact on student engagement and confidence, opportunities for experiential and integrated learning, teamwork, bulling social skills, and connections and links between schools and their communities.
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In this article the findings statistically speaking did not seem to support the hypothesis of a great difference compared to grades and success of other schools, which did not have the program. However when author Cattail Flanagan In “Cultivating Failure”, a piece from the Atlantic, referring to the school where Ms. Waters pioneered the program, she states ” Students grades quickly improved… Which makes sense, given that a recipe is much easier to write than a coherent paragraph on “The Crucible”. Here Flanagan shows that grades did improve but it could have been because the course work was now a lot easier.
However if the assignment was to write an essay on their experience of the garden, or keep a Journal of their everyday activities and learning of the garden plants, their writing skills are surely to Improve. This Is especially true when the children have something interesting to write about. On the other side there Is math. How can that be Incorporated Into the garden curriculum? Well a good example given was measuring the garden beds. Or how about measuring the growth of plants and Introducing addition, multiplication, and division in to those equations?
That already Is a complex fife expectancy formula which young students would be working with. And needles to say working with live measurements and in the outdoors is a lot more stimulating than having to stare at books and do math indoors day after day. The only really negative article was by Math Hartman. She suggested that introducing gardening into schools was like a step backwards in the school evolution ladder. But how is that possible? Gardening is proven to provide many skills and especially self-confidence and social skills that staring at computers or readings could never do.
I believe that Hartman is a sour lady who has had a bad experience with gardening or has not had the chance to enjoy gardens therapeutic aspects. In sum let the kids aftershock hours be filled with whatever enriching programs the good volunteers and philanthropic organizations of the nation care to offer them: clubs, sports, acting, etc. But we should not Lockwood or turn the other cheek when seem unreachable in an indoor sitting environment. Gardening may not be the key but it is however a great place to start and plant the seed to a better educational shoo-system.