Posted on 04/21/2017 at 07:58 AM by Liz Determan

Spring has sprung! The tulips and daffodils are blooming! The yards are green! The birds are singing! We have had a long period of time in which we and/or our students have been indoors, so it is now time to really engage in those outdoor learning experiences or nature walks.

Do you have a garden in or outside your classroom? Is there a space for you and your students to put a few flower pots in your outdoor space or how about putting them at the entrance of your school? Growing plants is an excellent way for children to learn about seeds and how they grow as well as what a seed needs in order to grow, but what else can we learn from growing plants. Some potential other topic areas could be animals that assist or help plants grow, water needs of plants, different ways to build soil (adding things that help the plants grow better or stronger), and many other items around how to garden.

Children engaged in outdoor planting tend to be more engaged/focused and in some research have shown a “calmer demeanor” during these explorations (from research synthesis discussed in “Last Child in the Woods (by Richard Louv). Engaging with local Master Gardeners (in Iowa, this is run through ISU Extension), local college Horticulture students, local school district FFA or Horticulture students or parents who are gardeners to help aid in developing outdoor gardens and doing some specific learning activities around gardening. One program also did “fall planting” by planting tulips in their play area and they saw a more immediate garden arise after the snow melt. Keep exploring many options for enhanced outdoor learning through gardening!

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