Creating and maintaining gardens helps students learn how to live sustainably, and is a starting point for studying how we can meet human needs while preserving the environment for future generations. Practical activities in garden design, planting and harvesting, can be linked to a range of curriculum areas including science, arts, literacy, and numeracy.
Food gardens promote sustainable living and healthy eating. Students can research which fruit, vegetables and herbs are suited to their local area, how to manage and maintain worm farms and composting, and how to maintain soil health.
Food gardens are an ideal way for children to develop knowledge and practical skills in garden maintenance, environmental monitoring, organic recycling and food production. Activities can include learning about food production, growing crops from different countries, keeping chickens and aquaponics.
Planning and preparation is the key to a successful food garden. You will need to research which crops are suited to your area, how to correctly manage worm farms and compost bins, and how to maintain soil health. The result will be a productive garden that will actively engage students in outdoor learning for many years to come.
A native garden can provide habitat for wildlife. Students can use the garden to investigate biodiversity and take actions to improve it on school grounds and in the local area.
Bush tucker gardens
Bush tucker gardens and studies of Aboriginal culture are an excellent way for students to learn about the environment and traditional ways of caring for Country. Aboriginal cultural project activities can also include art, dance, language, totems, and dreamtime stories, and through these students can learn about the importance of the environment in Aboriginal life.
Sensory gardens let students explore the environment through colour, sound, touch, taste and smell, while learning about environmental sustainability.
- Involve students in the planning and research of garden design, plants, and water requirements.
- Consider external training for interested teachers, or getting a horticultural expert in to help with the initial set-up and design phase. Teachers may also need training to help students learn about environmental issues.
- If you are including Indigenous studies in your project, speak with Aboriginal community members or your regional Aboriginal education consultant before starting. They can help you connect with suitable elders or Aboriginal educators within your community.
- Seek donations of materials from local businesses to help with the costs of soil, mulch or timber
- Organise a group of volunteers from the school community who can assist with maintenance, working bees or supporting lessons in the garden
- Consider the maintenance requirements of worm farms and chicken coops. These can add value to kitchen gardens but you need to make sure someone can look after them during school holidays.
Link your project to the curriculum
Learn how you can link environmental projects with the curriculum in key learning areas for student outcomes at all stages.