ZIMBABWE GREENHOUSE PROJECT
Children need quality nutritious food in order to grow and develop at healthy rates and also pay attention and learn in the classroom. Unfortunately, many children go to school hungry, often times their meal at school is their only meal of the day. Lack of nutrition can not only delay development in children, but directly impact their performance in school. Studies show that when children are provided with nutritious and healthy meals not only do they perform better, they are likely to stay in school longer. They also show the immense benefits of gardening with children.
At ICRI Zimbabwe we are launching our very first Greenhouse Project. With this project we hope to provide our students with healthy meals and also take the opportunity to teach children, parents and teachers about sustainable farming and agriculture. The students will learn first hand how to grow their own food and feel empowered in their lives.
HOW GARDENING BENEFITS CHILDREN
the school garden supports student inquiry, connection to the natural world, and engages students in the process of formulating meaningful questions” (Habib & Doherty, 2007).
Students involved with school gardens generally take pleasure in learning and show positive attitudes towards education (Canaris, 1995; Dirks & Orvis, 2005).
Students who have school garden programs incorporated into their science curriculum score significantly higher on science achievement tests than students who are taught by strictly traditional classroom methods (Klemmer, Waliczek, & Zajicek, 2005).
Children who are familiar with growing their own food tend to eat more fruits and vegetables (Bell & Dyment, 2008), and are more inclined to continue healthy eating habits through adulthood (Morris & Zidenberg- Cherr, 2002).
Gardening during childhood exposes children to healthy food, moderate exercise, and positive social interactions and can often lead to a lifetime of gardening (Gross & Lane, 2007).
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH
school garden serves as a “safe place” for students. Studies show that large numbers of students report “that they feel ‘calm,’ ‘safe,’ ‘happy’ and ‘relaxed’ in the school garden” (Habib & Doherty, 2007).
Children who work in gardens are more likely to accept people different from themselves (Dyment & Bell, 2006).
A study showed that students participating in a garden program had increased self-understanding, interpersonal skills, and cooperative skills when compared to non-gardening students (Robinson & Zajicek, 2005).