A recent study, the “Impact of Garden-Based Learning on Academic Outcomes in Schools: Synthesis of Research between 1990 and 2010,” published in the Review of Educational Research in February 2013, determined that garden-based learning had positive impacts on student’s grades, knowledge, attitudes and behavior. The study reviewed 152 articles regarding the effects of garden-based learning and ultimately decided to include 48 studies in a final synthesis.
Results of this study’s review showed a multitude of positive impacts on both direct and indirect academic outcomes. Of the 40 studies assessing direct learning outcomes, 83% found positive effects. Science had the highest proportion of positive effects, followed by math with language arts. Positive outcomes were often attributed to “direct, hands-on experiences that made classroom learning relevant.” In regards to indirect academic outcomes, 80% of studies were positive; social development surfaced most frequently and positively.
Although results of the study were consistent across programs, student samples, and school types, the study calls for increased research rigor in order to systematically understand the academic learning incomes related to garden-based learning.
Interested in exploring how our garden-based curricula can be integrated into your school, family or community gardens? Our lessons, projects, and publications offer a variety of activities, projects, and curriculum guides that can help get you started.