Children in classrooms throughout Long Beach and the nation are being encouraged to develop a growth mindset. At Ground Education, we believe that the learning garden experience is perfectly analogous to the development of a growth mindset.
Janet Kilburn-Philips wrote, “There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.” Indeed, the act of growing a garden requires hope and optimism in the potential of a seed, perseverance in the care and growth of young plants, and understanding that sometimes, along the way, things do not go exactly as planned in the natural world. Our curriculum and lessons are designed to promote learning through continued effort and to repurpose failure as a heartening springboard for stretching our abilities.
We believe that children make sense of the world by interacting with it and that gardens have the unique capacity to engage the mental and physical strengths of each and every child. In an outdoor classroom, individuals’ strengths can emerge which, otherwise, may not have been witnessed. For students who are dominantly kinesthetic learners, garden-based lessons can be both motivating and calming.
Oftentimes, students who may struggle in a typical academic classroom shine in environmental education settings. Many teachers have observed that the “behavior problems” can melt away during garden-based learning as children are so actively engaged in their meaningful work. Students who are immigrants may possess a culturally stronger connection to growing and cooking food, and as a result, may experience the opportunity to be leaders. Ground Education’s curriculum is designed with all learners in mind, including general and special education students, language learners, and children with special needs. Shared participation in a school’s learning garden allows opportunities for all students to propagate feelings of success.
As the second semester starts, we are excited to have logged more than 10,000 student hours in our school gardens this year - time spent exploring, wondering, planting, cooking, tending, experimenting and connecting. We'd like to extend a huge thank you to our sponsors and partner schools for embracing the power of nature to educate and inspire. We look forward to a fun and bountiful Spring.