Aline Alves Santos

Aline Alves Santos


João Paulo II Educational Centre School garden

Learning from direct experience: the school garden is an amazing “gym” to be in contact with nature, for a multidisciplinary teaching and emotional involvement.

The garden is the perfect place to reinforce what students learn in class and to stimulate their interest in a healthy diet, besides being a live laboratory, where they can develop their knowledge and exchange their experiences on nutrition, home economics and sustainability.

Throughout 2019 the students of the João Paulo II Educational Centre were able to experience first-hand all the stages of the realisation of the school garden, whose goal was to allow daily contact with nature and the construction of an emotional space for learning.

The students, always led by a professor, divided the process into stages: at the beginning they developed a plan on how they would organize the garden space; later they engaged in the collection of recycled materials that would then be used in the preparation of the garden.

The second stage of this process began with the preparation of the soil and the sowing of the selected seeds and the planting of seedlings received as donations from the families.

The third stage was the most demanding: keeping plants alive and watering them regularly. This stage got executed flawlessly thanks to the dedication of the students, who organized in shifts in order to guarantee the necessary daily care. With the ripening of the first vegetables and medicinal herbs, they collected and used them for preparing meals in the kitchen of the Centre.

This experience showed educators that an immediate educational result is possible. In this experience the students achieved these important goals:

  • Adoption of the concepts of environmental education
  • Recognition of yourself as part of the environment and start respecting it
  • Use of the garden space to learn content related to science, biology, geography and other subjects
  • Implementation of a healthy diet and contribution to food production
  • Valorization of teamwork, jointly creation of a routine and responsibility sharing
  • Awareness of organic food and their benefits
  • Interest in agricultural production and awareness of the production process as a small producer
  • They were urged to use observation as a method of making assumptions and solving daily problems

The Brazilian educator Moacir Gadotti says that a small garden, a vegetable garden or a small piece of land, are microcosms of the whole natural world. They teach us the value of the emotional relationship with the earth: life, death, survival, the value of patience, perseverance, creativity, adaptation, transformation, rigeneneration.

Learning through direct experience: the school garden is a splendid “gym” for contact with nature, for multidisciplinary teaching and for emotional involvement.

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