Ahead of this year’s National Children’s Gardening Week (26 May-3 June) a report has been published by the HTA on the uptake and benefits of school gardening in UK primary schools.
Together, we help children grow - The state of primary school gardening in the UK – highlights that 9 out of 10 primary schools run gardening activities. 94% of primary school heads and deputies believe that school gardening benefits either pupils’ health, mental wellbeing, social skills, concentration or learning. In spite of this though schools have only 33p per pupil to spend on the activity, and are in need of more funding and volunteer support.
The report highlights the tremendous job that schools are doing with limited resources. With more support they could deliver even more benefits for the UK’s children. School gardening has been shown to have many benefits to health and wellbeing. These benefits include:
- Children with access to decent green space are 24% more likely to be physically active.
- There is a strong correlation between happiness and feeling connected with the natural world.
- Working towards a common goal with peers (e.g. growing food for the school kitchen), helps pupils to break down many barriers to social interaction.
- Research has found that school gardening can give a greater sense of achievement and responsibility.
- School gardening has also been shown to improve concentration levels with children returning to the classroom ready and willing to learn.
Chris Collins, Lead Ambassador for National Children’s Gardening Week comments, “The rise of school gardening has been staggering over the past decade. Gardening covers so many parts of the curriculum and it is the perfect vehicle for hands on learning. The benefits from involving kids in gardening are huge – from social and physical to emotional and educational and I look forward to highlighting this through National Children’s Gardening Week and The Great Escape Industry exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.”
While the research shows that teachers clearly believe in the benefits of school gardening too, they need for more funds and volunteers. 83% of primary school heads and deputies feel that more funds would help their school get more benefit from school gardening. 61% feel that more volunteers would help their school get more benefit from school gardening.
Currently only around 1.5 million of the 5.5 million primary school pupils in the UK actually get to do school gardening; and primary schools have only 33p to spend per pupil on school gardening.
National Children’s Gardening Week provides parents and schools with free activities that are great fun for kids, and lend themselves to developing children’s learning, creative and social skills. Some of these ideas and examples of the benefits of children’s gardening will be on show in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in ‘The Great Escape’ exhibit which will be in the Discovery Zone in the Great Pavilion.
Together, we help children grow - the state of primary school gardening in the UK can be downloaded from the HTA website – www.childrensgardeningweek.co.uk/resources