University of Padova (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 4618-4626
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.1282
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
The objective of this research is to weigh up the school vegetable garden as a didactic tool for sustainable development education and care pedagogy. In particular, the aim is to introduce children to learn and create a respect and care relationship with nature, through knowledge of the plants and animal world because it is impossible to respect something that you do not know. In order to create a scientific background and to educate on environment protection.

The students should develop the skill in understanding differences and relationships between themselves and the environment elements. They should also create a personal and constructive relationship with the environment, characterized by behaviors coherent with ecologic, social and cultural sustainability.

The vegetable garden can be an educational opportunity to define a new relationship between child and nature, even though in its most tame aspects. In fact, the vegetable garden is not an environment where the child can observe the uncontaminated nature, but rather a changing environment where he can learn and observe the consequences of our actions.

The school vegetable garden has been implemented through experimentation that involved seventeen students of a kindergarten in Vicenza Province, in Italy. In the experimentation there were two different types of activities: planned activities and routine ones. Among the firsts, there were the essential elements for a seed to grow, the vegetables, the spontaneous herbs, the good insects for the vegetable garden, nature generosity, pollution, and organic farming practices. Instead, the routine activities focused on the daily care of the vegetable garden and the harvest. The methodology used has merged the scientific method of the laboratory with a dialogic approach, to create a learning community in the classroom.

During the research a trifocals evaluation has been applied and, at the end of experimentation, the results were very satisfactory, students have changed her attitudes towards the plants. The school vegetable garden proved to be an effective tool for sustainable development education and care pedagogy; it allowed the students to create a personal relationship with the plants, feeling the responsibility for their care and survival; they learned to notice and satisfy plant needs. The multidisciplinary nature of the vegetable garden allowed to deal with important themes such as pollution and respect for animals and plants, which are not the typical topics dealt with at the nursery school. The vegetable garden can be a didactic instrument for teaching that wants to make the difference.
Biology, botany, kindergarten, laboratory didactics, vegetable garden.