Horticulture in education
Words by Michael Casey MAIH RH016 and Dr Kate Neale MAIH
Caption: Conceptualising horticulture in education as a: subject, tool, context and benefit. Image credit: Kate Neale
Horticulture has had a long history as a subject in education across all cohorts in one form or another. Watching seeds sprout and grow to seedlings has always been a popular activity within early years education. Primary schools enjoyed a boom in interest in horticulture through such programs as the highly successful Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden that educated children about healthy food whilst teaching them how to grow their own. Many high school students continue to have some form of “Ag classes” in their subject offerings and tertiary and vocational learning providers provide the necessary training and education for people to pursue careers in horticulture.
And whilst all these opportunities encourage students of all ages to engage with horticulture as a subject in itself, this article illustrates other ways horticulture has become a tool for learning across many subjects within the curriculum; is shaping integrated learning environments in educational spaces and having an impact on student wellbeing and belonging.
Michael Casey is Director of Evergreen Infrastructure and MJC Horticulture, National President of Australian Institute of Horticulture and currently sits on the council with Therapeutic Horticulture Australia. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Dr Kate Neale holds concurrent fellowships at the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University and the Centre for Urban Greening and Ecology, Singapore National Parks. She specialises in the therapeutic benefits of horticulture for children, and people with disability. She is also the Vice President of Therapeutic Horticulture Australia. Her work can be viewed at www.digability.com.au.