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  • Author or Editor: Jennifer C. Bradley x
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While gardening is the number one hobby in the United States, elementary schools are just beginning to explore the use of school gardens as a means to enhance classroom learning. School gardens can reinforce classroom instruction by offering opportunities for experiential learning. The benefits of experiential learning allow for a better understanding of concepts as the hands-on approach provides meaningful and tangible experiences. While many teachers have anecdotally attested to the benefits of school gardens, there is little empirical evidence documenting their impact. In Fall 1997, the University of Florida hosted a competition for the best elementary school garden in Florida. Results from a research questionnaire completed by participating teachers indicated that teachers used school gardens infrequently, with the majority using the garden as an instructional tool no more than 10% of the time. Many teachers did, however, indicate that school gardens were used for environmental education (97.1%) and experiential learning (72.9%), and 84.3 % of teachers said that related activities enhanced student learning. Findings also indicate that the teachers surveyed had relatively new gardens and teachers lacked, or were unaware of educational resources to assist with garden learning. This paper describes and interprets the results of the teacher questionnaire.

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