Educators learn how to successfully connect their classrooms to the school garden

MSU Extension trains teachers how to use gardens to incorporate key concepts in math, science, nutrition and social studies education.

What makes for a successful school garden? Ninety-two educators from across Southeast Michigan found out how to incorporate a school garden into their math, science, social studies and science lessons from Michigan State University Extension.

Reaction from participants was enthusiastic, with many saying that the ideas and resources they came away with will be a valuable part of their classrooms.

At the workshop, Michigan State University 4-H Children's Garden Curator Norm Lownds presented ways teachers could create themed gardens for their students. He shared many different themes for gardens and plant ideas, from Peter Rabbit’s garden to a pizza garden – all designed to engage children in gardening. He said that teachers could also bring students on field trips to the 4-H Children’s Garden at MSU.

Also presenting was Anne Scott of the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Foods at MSU. She shared with teachers how to use nutrition education lessons in the classroom and in the garden. Educators were also introduced to nutrition education programs offered by MSU Extension staff and a number of lessons and curriculum they could utilize in the classroom.

Schools around the country are learning to incorporate gardens into their math and science programs as ways to use practical application of concepts. Programs like the Edible Schoolyard in California and Garden-Based Learning from Cornell University are examples of very popular and successful school garden programs.

Trainings like these offer schools many opportunities to get classroom ideas, learn from other educators, and make changes to their curriculum that provide students hands-on learning in the garden. School Garden Training for teachers provides multiple benefits for youth in schools, like encouraging physical activity in the garden, reducing childhood obesity, introducing children to foods they may have never tasted before, and teaching the next generation how to grow food.

Due to the great turnout, we definitely learned from teachers how important they think this information will be for their school. There are many other issues around gardening that they want more training on.

MSU Extension will continue to offer school garden training programs around Southeast Michigan to encourage and assist educators with school gardens in their communities.

For more information you can contact Kathe Hale at:

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