The Parents Gardening Club for School Gardens

January 22, 2013

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LEARNING TOPIC: HOW TO INVOLVE PARENTS IN SCHOOL GARDENS AS BOTH GROWERS AND FACILITATORS OF CREATIVE ACTIVITIES

The Parents Gardening Club

A Parents (or Grandparents) Gardening Club can cultivate different kinds of gardens within school grounds. Parents can ignite children’s interest in the natural world, and offer an important educatioal resource to enhance classroom learning.

Each parent will have a different preference in regards to what kind of garden they wish to grow. Some parents will be interested in vegetable gardening, while others will be interested in herb or flower gardening. It is important to group parents together who are interested in growing the same kind of plants. A Parents Gardening Club can work with the school’s Green Committee, or small groups of children. Short bursts of collective gardening undertaken by parents during the school year, can enhance not only the natural environment, but the school’s collective spirit. Gardening is an opportunity for parents to share quality time with school children. Gardening can enhance children’s leaning, empathy with nature, creativity and life skills.

Be aware that parents will most likely be interested in volunteering during times that fit their schedule. Facilitate a drop-in arrangement with parents. For many parents volunteering during school hours, is an opportunity to become more acquainted with their children’s school day. It can also enhance their relationships with school teachers and the school principal. Parents might enjoy working towards the celebration of an important environmental date or week, i.e. St. Brigid’s Day, National Tree Week, Samhain, Earth Day, World Environment Day, and Bealtaine.

Reward parents and grandparents with generous amounts of praise, pictures in the local newspaper, a group lunch, and recognition during school assemblies and within newsletters.

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The Parents Gardening Club will need a budget for buying plants, trees, seeds, herbs, potting soil, and tools. A supply of tools for the Club should be easily accessible, as well as a space for the parents to enjoy refreshments.

Reference Books for Gardening Ideas with children:

Gardening with Children by Kim Wilde

How Does Your Garden Grow? by Clare Matthews

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Garden Activities

Not all parents are interested in growing plants, so it is important to consider an outdoor classroom or school garden as a studio for a variety of activities and events.

Insect Identification with Magnifying Glasses

Flower Arranging

Making Greeting Cards from Dried Flowers

Sewing Bunting to Decorate the Garden

Crocheting Friendship Bracelets

Painting Rocks

Making Willow Wreaths at Christmas

Bobbing for Apples at Halloween

Storytelling

Sharing Nature Poetry

Having a Tea Party with Herb Teas from the Garden and Cakes Decorated with Edible Flower Petals

Building Raised Beds for the Garden

Singing Seasonal Songs

Using the Garden as a Imaginative Realm for Creative Writing

Making the Garden a Stage for Drama

Staging Intergenerational Events – Portraying the Social History of the Community

Creating Mosaics

Drawing the Shapes of Flowers, Seed Heads, and Trees in Sketch Books

Making a Nature Journal Scrapbook

A Useful Reference Book for Crafts and Honouring the Celtic Seasons: Celebrating Irish Festivals: A Calendar of Seasonal Celebrations by Ruth Marshall

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