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How to Create a Garden School- Part 1

You guys! It’s officially Spring! I am so excited for the all the things that this season brings… especially gardening! Gardening is something that I look forward to every year, not only because of the satisfaction of growing vegetables and flowers, but also because it is such a special part of our homeschool year. Learn about our journey to Garden School!

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Why Did We Start Garden School?

I remember when my oldest was two and I had a new baby. We were filling our days with play and following her curiosity. We had lots of outside time because not only was it fun but it also helped everyone’s attitude, including mine. So we were outside a lot and had recently moved to a house with a decent size lawn. That year, we decided to make a little toddler size garden box and we planted a few seeds. The excitement that little plot of land brought her was unmatched! We planted, watered, and checked that little garden multiple times a day. I also noticed that we chatted so much about the process, and we did a lot of counting, and waiting that taught patience, and it just was such a sweet summer of learning for her!

That is really where the spark of the idea for Garden School started. I really liked how organic the learning experience was for my children. By the next year, the baby was now a toddler, and he was just as enthralled by the experience that she was her first year. (Although, he ate quite a bit more dirt!) We didn’t just sit and talk about how God designed things to grow, we experienced it firsthand! I didn’t have to sit and make my toddlers count blocks, they counted seeds that they planted in the dirt. They were talking and making decisions, and taking care of living things. It all felt so natural, and it really was such a beautiful way of learning for them.

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What Do Children Learn in the Garden?

A lot of times it may seem that children are just killing time playing outside, but they are doing such important learning as they make decisions and use their bodies. This is not wasted time. Here are 10 things that children are actively learning while they prepare for and tend a yearly garden.

  1. Math, such as measurements for the garden boxes, counting seeds, classification of plants at the nursery, and comparison/sorting of seeds.
  2. Penmanship and Vocabulary, as they create a garden plan and label sticks for seed pots.
  3. Early Science, such as the life cycle of a plant.
  4. Gross Motor, like loading and unloading soil bags or help build a garden bed.
  5. Self-Reliance and Environmental Skills, like composting and life skills with garden tools, etc.
  6. Observations, as they watch the plants grow each day and see how water, soil, and sun make them grow.
  7. Sensory Input, such as the feel of the soil, watering plants, the smells of flowers.
  8. Responsibility and Work Ethic, as they tend to the garden daily.
  9. Food and Health, as they learn about where their food comes from.
  10. An Appreciation for God’s Design. The most amazing lesson!

I know firsthand that sometimes it is hard to include children in projects that we may want to do on our own. But when I really thought through all the things that gardening would help teach my kids, I resolved to let them play a big part in all of it. I do some of it myself, as I really enjoy the process but for the most part, it is a group project! We are a homeschool family, but this is not limited to just homeschoolers! Most of the work of the garden can be done on weekends or in the evenings. Any family can tend a garden with their children, and involve it in their family culture as they learn together.

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Do you do a Garden School with your family? I would love to hear all about it in the comments.

In the next part, I will be talking about HOW we do garden school! I hope you will come back to read that article next week!

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