children's gardening???

David Hershey dh321 at
Wed Oct 13 17:08:44 EST 1999

The National Gardening Association has a children's gardening curriculum
titled "GrowLab: Activities for Growing Minds" (1990, NGA: Burlington,
VT). There is also "The Growing Classroom: Garden-based Science" (1990,
NY: Addison Wesley) from Life Lab Science Program Inc. From the
standpoint of a plant scientist, a problem with these two curricula is
that they were rather weak in science. GrowLab in particular had a lot
of errors.

A stronger science foundation is found in Wisconsin Fast Plants program
but it is not really traditional  gardening although it involves growing
plants in the classroom. Fast plants is a very successful program.

The American Horticulture Society has held several National Children's
Gardening Symposia in recent years so there seems to be interest.

At the turn of the century, children's gardens were widespread in
schools in the USA and Europe. A lot of that was more vocational.
Companies like NCR in Dayton, Ohio used children's gardening as a way to
prevent juvenile deliquency and improve the community with home
landscaping contests. See the "Cyclopedia of Education" (1911, NY:
Macmillan) for an article on children's gardening in that era and
references. Even then, school gardens were criticised as not using the
gardening enough in teaching.

Recently, the community garden programs in inner cities have involved
and benefited children by improving neighborhoods and adding fruits and
vegetables to their diets. I remember Reader Digest panned the few
million dollars that the USDA spent on such gardening programs.
There are many other organizations that deal with plant education for
children in one form or another including National Arbor Day Foundation,
scouting merit badges in plants or gardening, botanical gardens and
arboreta, commercial greenhouses and nurseries, etc. If there is not a
website that brings together all this information, it would be
particularly worthwhile.

David Hershey
dh321 at

jason walker wrote:
> hi.
> i am the new kinderGarden coordinator at the the brooklyn botanic gardens'
> Children's Garden.   is there any one who is involved in children's
> gardening.  and  is  there anyone  interested  in establishing  a
> child-based  gardening  program.  i am trying  to  see  if  there  is  any
> interest  in  starting a web  organization to  try and   establish  an  open
> line  of  communication .  share  what works  and  what  doesn't.  so
> please  email   me back.
> jasonwalker at

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