The Robinson Edible Garden is an outdoor space that allows for many opportunities to integrate the principles of sustainability in math, science, art, health, social studies, STEM, marketing and economics. As we approach the beginning of the new school year, we look forward to the curriculum integration of this enriching NEW laboratory! The curriculum will be based on the main pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental and social. Robinson School is committed to teaching students the importance of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The area will be used actively as an outdoor, project-based learning space where both Aquaponics and Gardening are integrated into the curriculum and will continue to expand in several stages in the upcoming year.
Here we share some of the benefits of edible gardens and the objectives of integrating them as an educational tool.
BENEFITS OF AN EDIBLE GARDEN
• Growing plants fosters innovation and critical thinking skills. A garden provides learning opportunities that allow for the study of life and provides a foundation for understanding the principles of birth, growth, maturity, death, competition, cooperation and many other lessons that transfer to human life.
• Strengthens ties between school and community by offering opportunities for community members to get involved and connect children with older generations.
• Fosters a culture of environmental stewardship by providing students with a close-up look at natural processes and living organisms that thrive in these environments. By learning to care for a living ecosystem, children develop an understanding of nature’s importance in their lives and lives of others.
• Gardening strengthens children’s immune systems by exposing them to dirt and the outdoors.
OBJECTIVES OF HAVING AN EDIBLE GARDEN AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL
• To provide outdoor, hands-on learning opportunities that complement lessons about plant and insect life cycles along with experiential activities.
• To cultivate food for school programs and harvest fruits and vegetables that can be consumed by school families and staff. This allows students to understand where their food comes from by providing them an opportunity to participate in the seed to table process.
• To reduce school-generated food waste by using the garden’s composting system and teach students about the decomposition process and the importance of reducing food waste.
• To provide a peaceful, therapeutic space for students where they can find rest and reconnect with the natural world.
• To provide opportunities for students to improve their nutritional habits and use the school’s test kitchen to develop recipes based on harvested produce.
• To allow them the creation of entrepreneurial opportunities by creating a plan to market and sell harvested products.
• Working in a school garden helps children stay active, as jumping, bending, lifting, and stretching all take place during a typical gardening session.
• Gardening improves moods and eases anxiety as it teaches children self-regulation and mindfulness. Participating in gardening activities has also been shown to prevent and decrease anxiety and depression in both children and adults.
• Children who garden at school develop empathy towards other students and the organisms living in their school patch. Tending to a ‘bug hotel’ or watching birds and earthworms thrive in the garden helps children understand the interdependency of nature.
• Children who garden eat more fresh vegetables; working in a garden environment will have a long-term effect in improving student’s diets.
As we embark on this new academic journey, we are thankful for the resources we have available for our students and the school community. We are looking forward to learning together. Stay tuned for more!