Growing Minds: The Effects of a One-year School Garden Program on Six Constructs of Life Skills of Elementary School Children

in HortTechnology

The goal of this study was to assess changes in the life skill development of elementary school students participating in a 1-year school garden program. The Life Skills Inventory included statements for six constructs of life skills including teamwork, self-understanding, leadership, decision making skills, communication skills, and volunteerism. The students were divided into two treatment groups, an experimental group that participated in the garden program and a control group that did not participate in the school garden program. Students in the control group had significantly higher overall life skills scores on the pretest compared to students participating in the garden program but the scores were no longer significantly different between the groups on the posttest scores at the end of the program. In addition, there were no significant differences in the control group's pretest scores compared to their posttest scores. However, the students in the experimental group did significantly increase their overall life skills scores by 1.5 points after participating in the garden program. Two internal life skill scales were positively influenced by the garden program; “working with groups” and “self understanding.”

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