School Gardens - Group

Posted by emily.marsh on Fri, 05/27/2016 - 11:27

In School Gardening for Little Children Lucy R. Latter advocated the value of group work for small children:

Here I would like to say that experience amply proves that outdoor gardening with little children should only be taken as group work — that is to say, with but a small number of children at a time. Except for such work as watering the beds, or removing any stones from the same, when more children may easily be employed, from eight to ten children are about as many as one teacher alone can keep really occupied at a time, for she has to superintend and direct so many different operations the while. One bed may require weeding, another may have to be raked over, whilst in the kitchen garden there may be some runnerbeans to string up, or some carrots to thin out, and numberless other things.

Latter, Lucy R. (1906). School Gardening for Little Children. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Company, Limited, pp. 15-16

 Muskogee, Oklahoma

Hine, Lewis Wickes, photographer (1917) School garden - Jefferson School. Location: Muskogee, Oklahoma. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-nclc-00686. National Child Labor Committee Collection.

George Washington Carver contended that school gardens should be managed as partnerships among students, created and managed through written contracts:

It has been the experience of many teachers that it works well to have two, three or four children form a partnership, under written contract, who will be assigned by the teacher to one of the little plots set apart as an individual garden. The contact is made very simple, written somewhat as follows:


We agree to

1. Raise vegetables on one of the plots set apart for us to garden 2. Follow as best we can the direction of our teacher. 3. Share equally in the expense, labor and profits of the garden.

Carver, George Washington (1910) Nature Study and Gardening for Rural Schools. The Tuskegee Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin Number 18, p. 6.

Others maintained that the nature of the garden as individual or the product of the collective effort of an entire class or school was immaterial to its value as an educational tool:

From the point of view of this book the school garden is any garden in which a boy or girl of school age takes an active interest....The gardens to be considered from this point of view may be collective or individual, or both; they maybe in-doors or out-doors, or both; they may be at the school or the home, or both. In all of these cases the plants to be grown are much the same and the methods involved in growing them are similar.

Weed, Clarence Moores and Emerson, Philip (1909) The School Garden Book. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. 3