Multicultural School Gardens Facilitate Learning about Language, Culture, and Environment

By Amy Cutter-Mackenzie
Ontario Canada (September, 2009)- Dr. Cutter-Mackenzie has explored learning outcomes of a school gardening program in Melbourne, an Australian city, in 2006-2007. Qualitative data demonstrated that participation in this program increased students’ sense of belonging to the local community, provided a real-life opportunity to improve English, and contributed to students’ connection to the environment and their “sense of agency in protecting the environment.”

This culturally focused food gardening program was connected to the core curriculum and designed specifically for underserved, multicultural children, whose first language is not English. Students participated in gardening, cooking, sharing stories about gardening in other cultures while improving English and connecting with other members of the community. Using students’ journals, photos and peer interviews, as well as observations and interviews with children and parents, Dr. Cutter-Mackenzie found several types of impacts of this program. The paper provides food for thought with respect to the potential for children’s gardening to transcend language and cultural differences.

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Multicultural School Gardens Facilitate Learning