The Parents Gardening Club for School Gardens
January 22, 2013
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.
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
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
Making Greeting Cards from Dried Flowers
Sewing Bunting to Decorate the Garden
Crocheting Friendship Bracelets
Making Willow Wreaths at Christmas
Bobbing for Apples at Halloween
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
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