Digging in the dirt for academic performance

So, the existential question we’re occasionally asked goes something like this: “Do you think digging in the dirt is really going to help those kids learn readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic?”

And serious academic research reinforces our own anecdotal sense of things in saying that exposure to nature contributes mightily to mental health and resilience and strengthens attention and reduces stress, all of which helps children learn.

That sounds important enough to us here at the Vegetable Project to keep doing everything we can to get kids outside and then building teaching and learning around doing and touching and tasting and experiencing.

Goodness knows, sitting at desks in traditional classrooms is not working for many, many students.

“It is time to take nature seriously,” write university researchers in Frontiers in Psychology, “as a resource for learning and development. It is time to bring nature and nature-based pedagogy into formal education – to expand existing, isolated efforts into increasingly mainstream practices.”

We wrapped up another year of after school Garden Club at Stephen and Harriett Myers Middle School on Tuesday of last week. Please join us for the summer edition, Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m., starting this week, on the 14th! Children, adults, friends, connected with Myers or not.

–Bill Stoneman

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