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Kimberly R. Hilgers, Cynthia Haynes and Joanne Olson

The interest and use of gardens as educational tools for youth has increased in recent decades. The positive connection found between children and horticulture has prompted the development of garden-based curricula for use in schools. Iowa State University Extension developed the Growing in the Garden (GITG) curriculum for use in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms. This study examined what impact the GITG curriculum had on the awareness and interest of first graders in the areas of science, nutrition, and environmental awareness. Impact was assessed by a parental survey asking for perceptions of their child's interest and awareness after experiencing three lessons from the GITG curriculum. The sample population consisted of 78 parents of first-grade students from four classrooms in Iowa. The response rate was 60.2%. Results indicate that a significant number of parents completing the survey noted an increased awareness and interest of their children in the areas of science and the environment. Factors such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender did not influence the outcomes.

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Cynthia Haynes, Kimberly Hilgers and Joanne Olson

The interest, use, and recognized benefits of gardens as educational tools for youth has increased in recent decades and has prompted the development of garden-based curricula for use in schools. Iowa State University Extension developed Growing in the Garden (GITG), a curriculum designed for use in kindergarten through third grade classrooms. This study examined the impact of the GITG curriculum on the awareness and interest of first graders in the areas of science, nutrition, and the environment. A survey was used to determine parental perceptions of their child's interest and awareness after experiencing three lessons from the GITG curriculum. Forty-seven parents (60.2% response rate) of first graders from four classrooms in Iowa completed the survey. A significant number of parents surveyed noted an increased awareness and interest of their children in the areas of science and the environment. Factors such as socio-economic status, ethnicity, and gender did not influence the outcomes.