All the readings for this week, except for Hartmann’s, gave a lot of information on how community gardens are helpful. Mainly focused on were the student led gardens in the Edible School Yard programs invested in to primarily California schools and as mentioned in the reading even in Australia. In the following I will assess these readings, finding topics they have in common and disagree on and dissect them as best as possible.
Starting off with “Growing Community: The Impact of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program on the Social and Learning Environment in Primary Schools” by Karen Block, et. All, the article presents results from a mixed-method evaluation of a structures cooking and gardening program in Australia primary school. The program focused on impacts on the social and learning environment of the school, in particular, the authors addressed the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program objective of providing a pleasurable experience that has a positive impact on student engagement and confidence, opportunities for experiential and integrated learning, teamwork, building social skills, and connections and links between schools and their communities. In this article the findings statistically speaking did not seem to support the hypothesis of a great difference compared to grades and success of other schools, which did not have the program. However when author Caitlin Flanagan in “Cultivating Failure”, a piece from the Atlantic, referring to the school where Ms. Waters pioneered the program, she states “ Students grades quickly improved… which makes sense, given that a recipie is much easier to write than a coherent paragraph on “The Crucible”.
Here Flanagan shows that grades did improve but it could have been because the course work was now a lot easier. However if the assignment was to write an essay on their experience of the garden, or keep a journal of their everyday activities and learning of the garden plants, their writing skills...
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