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  • Author or Editor: Seong-Sil Kim x
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For older elementary school students, amicable peer relationships are important to meeting developmental challenges, such as socialization. Thus, in this study, the effectiveness of a school gardening program to promote positive social relationships among elementary school students was assessed. The participants in this study were fifth and sixth grade students from four elementary schools in Wonju, South Korea. The experimental and control groups consisted of 123 students each (total 246) from fifth and sixth grade classrooms. The gardening program included a range of activities, such as sowing seeds and harvesting produce, and was designed to improve peer status, peer relations, and sociality. The program was embedded in the school curriculum; sessions were 90 minutes per week for 10 weeks from 16 April through 25 June 2012. The results revealed the school gardening program brought about meaningful differences in both persistence of friendship (P = 0.04) and adaptability between friends (P = 0.03), which were subcategories of peer relationships, in the experimental group. There were also significant improvements in sociality (P < 0.001) and its various subcategories, especially in law-abiding (P < 0.001) and collaboration (P < 0.001). Finally, the peer status results showed that there was significantly a greater increase in the peer status after the school gardening program, but there was no significant change in the control group. In conclusion, the school gardening program for elementary school students had a positive influence on peer relationships, sociality, and peer status. Implementing a garden program in schools will effectively contribute to the improvement of social relationships among elementary school students.

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