Creative Session for teachers at Explora

The meeting held at Explora on Monday, April 16th, was attended by teachers and education professionals who discussed proposals and exchanged views about potential achievements, critical issues and experiences of vegetable gardens in schools, thus bringing about new ideas and providing food for thought.

 

 

The meeting focused on three main items:

teaching and training skills;
technical aspects and opportunities;
design, management and stakeholders.

The first item shed light on the opportunity offered by educational vegetable gardens to create a direct contact between the class and nature, strengthening observation and development of skills in children.
A few teachers pointed out how the ability to manage an educational vegetable garden is an opportunity for the class to grow and develop awareness about a number of subjects.
An educational vegetable garden can, in fact, let children get to know where some products come from, increase their environmental awareness, make them feel responsible for the division of tasks and makes it easier for children to develop transversal educational skills based on a sensory, scientific approach, on environmental and food education.
Being absorbed in watching a plant grow and noticing produce seasonality give children a direct contact with nature, even in downtown areas. Creating an educational vegetable garden also allows having an inclusive approach, in that the whole class, which can also include children having learning difficulty or disabilities, takes part in the project.

   

The second item was about technical aspects. The need for a more “technical” figure within the whole project emerged during the discussion; an “experimental” approach is in fact not enough to create and maintain an education vegetable garden. The main difficulty resides however in the use of gardening tools, some of which are very expensive while others are not fully suited to children.
The maintenance problem also adds to the needs for advice and tutorship.
The requirement for anyone who decides to create an educational vegetable garden is to have a professional figure with botanical knowledge; this requirement is coupled with the need of keeping up with developments in innovation and new technologies.
Communities, inclusivity and Nature: the third meeting brought up the multifunctional aspects of an educational vegetable garden. An educational vegetable garden plays a decisive role for communication and interaction within the community; an educational vegetable garden is an active and social place, where, not only teachers, but also parents and the local community as a whole get in the game to help grow it and maintain it.
In some cases, schools’ vegetable gardens can also involve farmers’ associations, local agricultural schools, universities and other institutions and turn into real “social” vegetable garden.