EVEN FOR SENIOR CITIZENS As we get older, it may become harder to do certain things. With SFG, you'll see another big advantage when you harvest 1 square foot and add that trowel full of compost. There's no heavy digging! You can readily visualize how conventional gardening would become too much work and too much effort, causing someone to give it up. SFG has the advantages of small space, no heavy equipment, and raised boxes; it almost boils down to just planting a few seeds, growing, and caring for them. Gardening then becomes a very simple, easy, and pleasant, task. So you'll never have to stop gardening if you're using the new SFG method.
One thing I've learned from teaching SFG over the last thirty years is that kids love to garden. They are so excited about growing plants. From the beginning, it was obvious that SFG is perfect for teaching arithmetic and all kinds of math and, that in fact, anything in the
scientific field is easily taught using gardening as the vehicle. But then I began to see that a teacher could readily relate all subjects to gardening.
One of the best examples of this is a teacher in California named Sandy. She teaches every subject in the classroom through the class's Square Foot Gardens. One year, the final project was to have each student write me a letter telling me about their garden. They each described what they liked best and then drew a picture illustrating it. They were learning penmanship, spelling, pronunciation, letter writing, and the ability to describe observations and feelings. During the year, Sandy covered many aspects of science and art, as well as economics, history, language, communication, and the environmental issues. The class produced a play and video about SFG and invited parents and the rest of the school, to come learn with them. This, of course, gave Sandy the opportunity to teach play writing, acting, stage presence, costume design and making, advertising, publicity, promotion, and so much more. A side benefit is that, in addition to school subjects, the children learned the important values of sharing, nurturing, and responsibility.
We have worked with all age groups from preschool through high school using gardening as a teaching tool. Suddenly learning begins to have some type of meaning in their lives, and they can begin to see the value of the subjects they have been learning in the past.
The only change in SFG for children is that we make the box a little smaller because they can't reach in as far. Instead they garden in a 3 X 3-foot box, which equals a square yard. As I mentioned before, this is how we got the name for our school program, UA Square Yard in the School Yard." We have the description and photos of many school programs on our website on the School Gardening page.
A plan needs to be made on what to do with the gardens during the summer vacation period. There are lots of solutions—all you need to do is brainstorm with the students, and the brainstorming itself becomes another learning experience!
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