Connecting Youth to Gardening
For more than 35 years, the National Gardening (NGA) has been working to promote the connection between people, plants and the environment. According to the NGA gardening boosts children's interest in school and learning, improves their attitudes about eating healthful foods and caring for the environment, helps them develop social skills and self-esteem, and gives them a sense of community spirit. It also shows children that food does not originally come in a box or plastic bag. The NGA's Youth Gardening programs enhance all aspects of children's educational, social and physical development.
According to the NGA, gardens are a microcosm of the environment. Landscaping with water, native plants, and habitat-friendly gardens are means by which students can understand their place in the environment and can help them understand sustainable practices.
The NGA promotes outreach for students and schools through the following programs:
Adopt a School Garden® Program
The Adopt a School Garden® program provides plant-based learning opportunities and links schools and children with businesses. Learn more about the Adopt a School Garden® program.
Curriculum Guides & Resources
NGA publishes curriculum materials that support plant-based education efforts in schools and community gardens nationwide. NGA helps teachers expand their knowledge of plant-based education and helps them effectively implement school gardens. Find out more about these guides.
Gardening with Kids Resource Catalog
School and youth gardens are useful methods for teaching across the educational curriculum, promoting learning and helping young people develop lifelong social skills. NGA's print and online catalogs offer plant-based curricula, horticultural information, products that engage kids in active learning and exploration, and other items for young gardeners that are designed to solve gardening challenges. To find out more about this program, visit Gardening with Kids or Adopt a School Garden® Program.
National Youth Garden Grants
These grants provide schools and community organizations across the country with resources that enliven the curriculum while supporting state and national standards for learning. Youth Garden Grants provide critical funding for garden supplies like seeds, plants, and tools. This program reaches thousands of school age children annually and is generously sponsored by The Home Depot. Each year the NGA collects data on the impact of this program.
Industry & Corporate Partners
NGA collaborates extensively with corporations and sponsors in support of grades from Kindergarten through high school, health and wellness, environmental, community, and home gardening educational programs and initiatives. Learn more about industry and corporate sponsors.
School Gardening engages students by allowing students to observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn. School Gardens are living laboratories where interdisciplinary lessons are drawn from real life experiences, encouraging students to become active participants in the learning process.
Students at Ridley High School in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, transformed a vacant courtyard at the school into a productive garden in only one growing season. Many Ridley High clubs and classes cooperated to construct raised beds and install irrigation systems, and students from woodworking classes built the garden's tool shed. Students from horticulture classes and a special needs class worked together to plant and care for seeds. Biology classes also planted their own seeds and watered them daily, and students from food classes harvested the vegetables and used them in recipes. Other positive results of this garden collaboration between teacher and students involved the opportunity to teach "across the curriculum" by including students in different classes and subjects, as well as the student pride that resulted in maintaining the courtyard and in watching their plants produce fruits and vegetables. Learn more about the benefits of school garden programs.
Kids Garden News
NGA's monthly e-mail newsletter includes articles, activities, and resources for teachers to help them implement school gardens and family gardening. To learn more, sign up for Kids Garden News.