New research by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) shows that gardening can have an enormous impact for children’s wellbeing, learning and development.
Dr Simon Thornton Wood, Director of Science and Learning, RHS, said ‘As the coalition government considers a new approach to the primary curriculum, we hope to acknowledge the striking conclusions of our research – that gardens enable a creative, flexible approach to teaching that has significant benefits’.
Research shows that schools which actively use a garden develop ‘resilient’, ‘ready to learn’ and ‘responsible’ children, and that developing gardening skills for children will make up well-balanced, happier, healthy and more rounded individuals. The RHS believes that these skills can be learnt when gardening is used as a teaching, and not just an extra-curricular activity.
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As well as happier, healthier children, gardening can also boost other aspects of children’s development at school. Gillian Pugh, chair of the National Children’s Bureau and the Cambridge Primacy Review believes that gardening not only provides opportunities for increasing scientific knowledge and understanding: ‘It also improves literacy skills, numeracy and oracy, but as well as pupils’ confidence, resilience and self-esteem.
In 2007, the RHS campaign for School Gardening was launched to encourage schools to create gardens. There are currently 12,000 schools signed up to the Campaign, benefiting 2.5million pupils.
Mr Thornton Wood added: ‘Schools which integrate gardens into the curriculum are developing children who are much more responsive to the challenges of adult life.’