Gardening comes to the classroom

Hidden among the more contentious educational reforms put forward by the government is a proposal to include gardening on the National Curriculum for students aged 7 to 14. The idea is to teach children and young people the value of growing their own food and the skills required to do so.

The changes put forward by education minister Michael Gove should bring gardening skills to every school in the country. However there are already 17,250 schools participating in the Campaign for School Gardening scheme run by the Royal Horticultural Society. Since 2007, these schools have been showing children how to grow food and flowers from seeds.

Along with learning about plants, children are also encouraged to gain valuable life skills that contribute to their mental health and general wellbeing as part of the Campaign for School Gardening. The health benefits of gardening are well understood in adults, so by encouraging students to take up the hobby early, they too should become healthier and enjoy greater peace of mind as a result. Finally children are shown that gardening can help create a sustainable environment that benefits the wider community.

Whether or not Michael Gove’s planned curriculum changes will come to fruition remains in doubt. However with initiatives like the Campaign for School Gardening, it is encouraging to see that children are already learning the rewards of planning, managing and maintaining their own gardens.