only on school and family life but also ongeneral social life. He stated “A school gardenshould be connected with every school,where children can have the opportunity forleisurely gazing upon trees, flowers andherbs, and are taught to appreciate them”(Weed, 1909, cited in Sealy, 2001). Ahundred years later, Jean-Jacques Rousseau(1712-1778) described the defect of teachinga child “about” things rather than the thingsthemselves. He stated, “You think you areteaching what the world is like; he is onlylearning the map.” Rousseau emphasized theimportance of nature in education, statingthat nature was the child’s greatest teacherand that “his knowledge of the natural worldserves as a foundation for his later learning”(cited in Sealy, 2001).Rousseau’s teachings were adopted byJohann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) whospoke of observation and activity in learningrather than learning mere words. Pestalozzistarted his school after working with 25orphans using gardening, farming, and homeskills as practical education. He visualized thebalance between the three elements, “hands,heart, and head.” Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) who studied Pestalozzi’s fundamentalprinciples, went a step further to emphasize“doing” as well as observing in such a waythat is not merely mechanical, but ratherincorporates the creative energies of thechild such that the child is “elevated toproductive activity in the full sense of theword” (Froebel Web site, 1998). Froebel wasone of the most effective proponents of school gardens in the nineteenth century(Sealy, 2001).
Philosophers of the 20
Century:Montessori, Dewey and Gandhi
Maria Montessori (1870–1952), the founderof the Montessori method of education whichushered in a new era in child education,spoke of “first the education of the senses,then the education of the intellect.”
Shebelieved that a garden could help children intheir moral development and appreciation of nature. In her own words, “When he (thestudent) knows that the life of the plants thathave been sown depends upon his care inwatering them…without which the littleplant dries up…the child becomes vigilant, asone who is beginning to feel a mission in life”(Montessori, 1912).John Dewey (1859–1952) referred to thereorganization of rural schools and theutilization of agriculture in education in theearly part of the twentieth century as a“movement towards greater freedom and anidentification of the child’s school life withhis environment and outlook” (Dewey, 1915).With reference to school gardens, he statesthat in such schools, “opportunities exist forreproducing situations of life, and foracquiring and applying information and ideasin carrying forward of progressive experi-ences. Gardening need not be taught eitherfor the sake of preparing future gardeners, oras an agreeable way of passing time. It affordsan avenue of approach to the knowledge of the place farming and horticulture have hadin the history of the human race and whichthey occupy in present social organization.Carried on in an environment educationallycontrolled, they are means for making a studyof facts of growth, the chemistry of soil, therole of light, air, moisture, injurious andhelpful animal life, etc. It is pertinent to notethat in the history of man, the sciences grewgradually out of useful social occupations”(Dewey, 1944).Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948),another naturalistic educator, believed likeRousseau that natural and rural environ-ments are important educative contexts(Aggarwal, 1985). Gandhi made a valiantattempt at rescuing education from theconfines of the fours walls of a classroom.Gandhi’s model of self-sufficiency of schoolswas tailored toward developing communitieswhere government funding for education wasnot adequate. He believed that a certain craftsuch as spinning, could be used as aneducational context, and also enable theschool to operate self-sufficiently(Aggarwal, 1985).
Tracing the History of Garden-based Learning and SchoolGardens
The First School Gardens in Europeand Australia
In 1811 Prussia, the first compulsory schoolsystem that included gardening wasdeveloped, and in 1869 school gardensbecame a law. Erasmus Schwab, who washired to enforce this law, published
The PublicSchool Garden
in 1871 emphasizing that the
Today, the ideas of experi-ential and naturalisticeducation, integrated curriculum, and theideals of environmentaleducation and agriculturalliteracy have found a newcontext for instructionbeyond the four wallsof the classroom–theschool garden.