School garden plants seeds to healthy habits

Published 10:49 am Thursday, April 27, 2017

On Friday, Conkwright Elementary School students rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty as they planted flowers and vegetables in the school’s new garden.

The garden, consisting of six raised beds, will be used as a teaching tool to show students how to plant, care for and harvest plants.

Conkwright third-grader Wade Johnson said it best during a presentation at the garden dedication.

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“The students will take pleasure in learning something other than just classroom studies,” he said. “Children who are familiar with growing in a garden tend to make healthier choices by eating more fruits and vegetables.”

Today, it is not enough for schools to focus only on academics. While academics should be of utmost importance, it is also key that schools discover ways to incorporate learning outside the classroom. It is particularly important for schools to focus on teaching skills that students can use the rest of their life, especially for certain at-risk populations.

Research shows that children who learn to grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and are more likely to desire gardening as adults.

Additionally, working in a school garden will allow students to gain a better understanding of the complexities of nature and the importance of protecting the environment.

All the while they will be building connections with one another and even the older students who have pitched in on the project.

For many of these students, this may be the only introduction to food production they will ever get. The garden opens up opportunities to teach about harvesting, preparing and sharing foods. There are many valuable social and scientific lessons to be learned by implementing a school garden.

This school garden will plant the seeds to healthy habits that these young students can bring home with them to their families now and hold onto into adulthood.