APS has a Growing Gardens Team that is working towards starting gardens at schools throughout the district, teaching students how to start and maintain gardens in Albuquerque.
Growing Gardens Handbook
The Growing Gardens Team has created a handbook on gardening in Albuquerque Public Schools, called "Growing the Outdoor Classroom."
The handbook includes information on:
- The Outdoor Classroom
- Planning a School Garden
- Growing Basics for Plants
- APS and School Gardens
- School Garden Resource List
The Growing Gardens Team created a comprehensive report that details the information outlined below.
All across America schools and communities are returning to the proud tradition of growing gardens. Gardening in America is not a new phenomenon. For example in 1943 there were 20 million “Victory Gardens” planted in America -- at homes, schools, jails, and public buildings -- which produced nearly a third of all vegetables produced that year (www.revivevictorygarden.com). We have done it before and we are doing it again.
Why gardening? Why now? Why in schools?
A garden is more than just planting seeds and growing food. According to the National Gardening Association, across America school gardens are being used “as a vehicle for encouraging children to make good food choices, augmenting classroom studies with experiential learning, building a love of nature, stimulating social interaction, facilitating cultural exchange, and more.” (www.kidsgardening.com)
Here are more ways that family members can support school gardens:
- Offer your expertise and experience (with things like planning and design, organizing and fundraising, digging, planting, landscaping, building projects or cooking)
- Raise funds by selling seeds and/or plants grown by students instead of unhealthy foods
- Beautify the campus with plants, flowers and trees
- Donate needed plants, seeds or tools
Contact the Wellness office for more information.
The Outdoor Classroom
Gardens are also the ideal outdoor classroom. As an outdoor classroom they allow a place to implement effective teaching strategies such as hands-on and experiential learning. They also provide a place to teach and learn a wide range of academic subjects including:
- Environmental science
- English and creative writing
- Health and nutrition
In addition to academic subjects gardens are an ideal place to teach important social and life skills including:
- Cooperation, teamwork, sharing
- Caring for something other than self, nurturing
- Goal setting
- Managing disappointment, frustration
- Enjoying success, with community
Gardens can also be used by school social workers, counselors, occupational therapists and others to reinforce the important social development milestones of childhood.