Often, the clear-eyed observation that “gardens are hard work” is an argument given for NOT starting a garden. I believe, however, that this truth is one of the most compelling reasons to (ahem) dig in if you hope to teach character education.
In the spring of 2010, Julian Elementary won a National Schools of Character award from the Character Education Partnership. As such, a team of staff, teachers, and one parent (moi) attended their national conference last year to accept the award. Funding had been made available to produce a 10-minute film highlighting how character education is taught at the winning schools. We hired First and Main Media, and they produced a gem of a video, which is now featured on the CEP’s website.
After attending the conference last year, I noticed that the idea of school gardens as vehicles for character education was absent from the three-day series of workshops. As such, I returned to the conference this year with colleagues to lead a session entitled “Gardens that Grow Character.”
The intersection of gardens and character education is a theme I plan to explore periodically on this blog, and I thought I’d lay down some history, starting with this film. If you’re in a hurry, the garden makes an appearance at minute 6:20.