This book delves into the complex history of the gardening movement in schools and examines the question why gardens should be built in schools. It offers practical guidance for teachers to begin thinking about how to approach educational gardening.
A resurgence of interest in school gardens is linked to concerns about children’s health, food knowledge, lack of outdoor play and contact with the natural world. This book warns against simplistic one-best approaches and makes a case about the complexity of gardening in schools. It is the first critical attempt to address the complex and conflicting notions about school gardens and to tackle the question ‘what is the problem to which school gardens are the answer?’ Examining the educational theory in which gardening has been explained and advocated, the book explores the way contemporary gardens research has been conducted with specific questions such as ‘what works well in school gardens?’ Based on case studies of a school establishing a garden and another one maintaining a garden, chapters look at the way in which schools come to frame their gardens. The authors suggest that there are four issues to consider when setting up a school garden or evaluating a pre-existing one – wider social context, public policy, the whole school, and the formal and informal curriculum.
The book ends with a call for consideration of the ways in which school gardens can be built, the myriad practices that constitute an educational garden space and the challenges of maintaining a school garden over the long term. It will be of interest to teachers in primary schools, as well as a key point of reference for scholars, academics and students researching school gardens.
Table of Contents
Introduction; 1. Mapping the History of School Gardens; 2. Contemporary Understandings of School Gardens; 3. City School Establishes a Garden; 4. New School Maintains an Established Garden; 5. Analysing the School Garden; 6. Why Garden in Schools?
Lexi Earl is a writer and science communicator. She is currently the Outreach and Engagement Manager for the Future Food Beacon at the University of Nottingham. She is the author of Schools and Food Education in the 21st Century, published by Routledge in 2018.
Pat Thomson is Professor of Education in the School of Education, the University of Nottingham. Her research agenda is to further understandings about and practices of socially just pedagogies in schools and communities; she often focuses inquiry on the arts and alternative education. She writes, blogs and tweets about academic writing and doctoral education on patthomson.net.