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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An educational reform actually worth more than the words used to describe it

Kids planting seedsImage by Chris and Jenni via Flickr

There's so much trendy BS going on in the EdBiz today, mostly a function of the terrible takeover of schools by business interests. Real, promising ideas are all too rare. But here's one:

The NFER surveyed a selection of 1,300 school teachers and studied in-depth 10 schools belonging to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, from a large urban London primary to small village school in Yorkshire, to discover that gardening in schools encourages children to:

Become stronger, more active learners capable of thinking independently and adapting their skills and knowledge to new challenges at school and in future;

Gain a more resilient, confident and responsible approach to life so they can achieve their goals and play a positive role in society;

Learn vital jobs skills such as presentation skills, communication and team work, and fuel their entrepreneurial spirit;

Embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle as an important tool for success at school and beyond;

Develop the ability to work and communicate with people from all ages and backgrounds.

Gillian Pugh, Chair of the National Children’s Bureau and The Cambridge Primary Review, explains, “Not only does gardening provide opportunities for increasing scientific knowledge and understanding, and improving literacy, numeracy and oracy, but this report shows that it also improves pupils’ confidence, resilience and self-esteem.”

Not to mention that children who garden eat what they grow, whereas bad diet is the root evil of much of what plagues kids today (and TV, which is mainly used to push bad food and junk at kids, accounts for much of the rest).

Even better, there's no standardized test for gardening skills! There can be as many styles as there are children, and they can all succeed at it.
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