Magazine article Environmental Education

Vulnerable Children Helped Back into Learning

Magazine article Environmental Education

Vulnerable Children Helped Back into Learning

Article excerpt

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is committed to inspiring and supporting gardening in schools and has over 15,000 schools registered to the Campaign for School Gardening. My name is Sarah-Jane and I am a Campaign for School Gardening Outreach Project Officer. I have been working with schools in West Yorkshire since 2006.

For the last 18 months I have been involved in a project called Moving Up, Growing On, which looks at the potential of gardening to improve engagement with learning, and employment opportunities for young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN). During this project I worked with 130 students (ages 4-19) and 80 teachers across six different learning environments. All the students had different educational needs, meaning that a person-centred approach was vital to their learning. The findings of this project are now published in a new report, Moving Up, Growing On--Gardening for a better future. The Moving Up, Growing On project and report were made possible through the legacy left to the RHS by the late Peter Rees.

Gardening is a practical subject, so for a student with SEN this means that it is accessible: it makes learning fun and opens up a new world of possibilities. My work with Hafsah, a hearing-impaired student, clearly demonstrated how gardening can affect a student's wellbeing and confidence. When I began working with Hafsah she was a very quiet student and would not speak up in class. The nurturing effect of the garden allowed Hafash to develop new gardening skills, new friends and the confidence to make a presentation to the whole school at a Green Day event. …

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