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Making a case
At Growing Futures we aim to connect young people with nature using horticulture.
We have created bespoke educational programmes that teach our students design, building and growing techniques, cooking skills and the importance of nutrition, all
whilst providing the practical applications for Maths, Science and English curriculum.
We believe that this approach, not only helps to break down the barriers associated with these subjects and how they can be used in real life situations, but helps the learners with their social development and encourages a more sustainable, healthier, happier lifestyle.
Maths, English and Science
In November 2006 the DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) published its manifesto "Learning Outside the Classroom'. The manifesto leads with the
statement, "We believe that every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or
circumstances." Such experiences "help us to make sense of the world around us by making links between feelings and learning.
They stay with us into adulthood and affect our behaviour, lifestyle and work. They influence our values and the decisions we make. They allow us to transfer the learning experience to the outside classroom and vice versa". Getting out of the classroom facilitates authentic or experiential learning (the engagement of learners with the world as they actually experience it) and gives better access to the main pathways to learning (Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic).
Pupils not only experience these subjects in concrete and novel settings, but can be liberated from the sometimes restrictive expectations of the classroom. As a result we can expect to find the following benefits:
- higher levels of motivation
- almost limitless resources
- an opportunity to see Maths, English and Science as cross-curricular
- greater curiosity leading to more effective exploration
- creative ideas driving investigations
- meaningful application of problem solving strategies and thinking skills
- a heightened sense of purpose and relevance
- the all important bridge between theory and reality
- greater independence and an improved attitude to learning
- greater enjoyment and achievement (one of the five Every Child Matters outcomes)
- a realisation that our environment offers opportunities for learning and enjoyment
Learning Mathematics, English and Science outside the classroom is not enrichment, it is at the core of empowering and individual's understanding of the subject.
Methods for Learning
Outside learning has a particular benefit for those young people with learning difficulties or SEN.
"The most compelling benefits of outdoor learning for autistic children were: supporting the curriculum (bringing the curriculum to life); skill development (social skills and well-being); and personal, social and health education. There is considerable evidence that outdoor learning is particularly helpful for children with SEN who often face more difficulties with classroom learning and greater barriers to accessing the outdoors; and there is some evidence showing autistic children benefiting from initiatives such as gardening. The therapeutic value of gardens and horticulture activities is known to have significant benefits for the health and well-being of people in general and for people with disabilities and SEN, especially children and young people."
Methods for Practical Application
(click on the images to see some examples)