Sharing Our Agricultural Roots (SOAR) school gardens: behavioral effects

Monika E. Reuter, Richard N. Raid, Russell T. Nagata

Abstract


The positive psychological benefits of gardens and
gardening have been known for some time. In particular,
school gardens are thought to enhance academic performance of children. During spring 1997, a school garden program called "Students SOAR" was initiated in southern Florida. To evaluate the effectiveness of this program, a multi-year, multimethodological behavioral study of 25 schools in Palm Beach County participating in SOAR was initiated. Results of the first two phases of the study indicate that SOAR's effect is "out standing." Students participating in this program are enthusi astic and inquisitive, take possession of the gardens, and also take great pride in garden accomplishments. Gardens are a natural learning environment, and while most children call their garden activities "fun," time spent in the gardens is time spent learning. Two key indicators for success are described: the necessity for discipline in the gardens, and the need for enthusiasm and engagement on the part of the teachers.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283