Learning gardens are experiencing a surge in popularity in schools. It makes sense—they’re a great way for kids to learn, and they don’t need to take up much space (Some schools even dedicate a corner of the cafeteria to a “garden” in a window box!) Studies have shown that school learning gardens significantly increase science achievement scores, improve students’ social skills and behavior, and teach students the importance of healthy eating.
School learning gardens also offer an excellent opportunity to increase your school’s parent involvement. Parents who feel intimidated by volunteering inside the school may be delighted to get their hands dirty in a garden instead. To make the most of your school garden:
- Decide how many volunteers are needed and for what duties. Are the jobs steady (like weeding the garden once a month) or one-time-only (like planting seeds)?
- Let parents know what opportunities are available. Work together to match people to the jobs.
- Keep track of volunteers, contact information, and what jobs they have done.
- Stay in touch. Post a schedule that volunteers can access. Hold meetings to discuss the garden with parents. Send out reminders to the volunteers.
- Give feedback. Let parent volunteers know what a big difference they made.