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Benefits of Selecting a Garden as a Learning Environment

Question:

You will be required to design a space relevant to one of the topics provided. You will be designing a purpose built space with a specific end user in mind.

Education is the key that determines the overall growth of the children by providing them adequate learning and growing environment. It has been seen that educating the children are generally conducted in confined places such as schools, seminars, libraries, and conservatories thereby, restricting the overall growth of the children (Clayton, 2012). In the 21st-century learning environment, the learning environment is designed in open spaces, playgrounds, street corners, pars, and hallways. Therefore, the outdoor space needs to be designed in order to fulfil the educational requirements of the students thereby, promoting learning and education (Cassidy, 2013).

This report emphasizes on designing a learning environment for the students in the garden. Therefore, while designing the garden as the learning environment it is necessary to consider psychological aspect of the individuals attending the learning environment. Additionally, the report also emphasizes the theoretical aspects that need to be considered while designing the learning environment by selecting specific components such as furniture and tools appropriately. Moreover, the report also discusses the individuals using the space and the activities conducted in the learning environment. The report also consists of the basic plan of the garden that will be used for designing the learning environment.

In this report, the garden is selected for designing the learning environment for the children in order to ensure an educational retreat thereby, promoting cognitive restoration. As a result, the learning environment will enhance the learning process. As commented by Gifford (2014), the school garden is considered as an innovative teaching tool that provides an opportunity for the teachers to include hands on activities for students while learning. Using the garden as the learning environment allows the students coming from disturbed or abused background to find a newer approach to education and learning. As mentioned by Steg, Van Den Berg and De Groot (2012), children tend to learn better when they are allowed to experience the practicality of the theoretical aspect of the education and learning.

The major advantage of selecting the garden as the learning environment is that the children will be able to develop love and compassion for the surrounding environment. Additionally, the garden will also provide an opportunity for the student to experience the educational activities practically and personally thereby, enhancing their knowledge. Moreover, learning in the garden also develops the urge and enthusiasm within the children for learning. The garden learning environment also benefits the children by teaching them team work and responsibility along with gathering the experience of hands-on training (Schmuck & Schultz, 2012).

The children will be primarily attending the learning environment in the garden. The schools aim towards conducting the teaching classes in the garden for the students rather than educating them in confined infrastructure. The children attending the learning environment in the garden will mainly comprise of pre-school or kindergarten aged children. Educating the primary school children in gardens is beneficial as this allows the children to learn about the surrounding environment and develop love and compassion. Additionally, garden learning environment enables the kindergarten schoolchildren to develop community and social development (Block et al., 2012).

Target Audience for Garden Learning Environment

The garden learning environment also allows the primary school children to learn and develop interest beyond academics. The children are able to get a broader scope of learning lessons of life along with learning approaches to leading a healthy life. The garden learning environment will also provide an opportunity for the kindergarten students to develop an interest in co-curriculum activities thereby, facilitating their personal development. The garden learning environment also provides an opportunity for the primary schoolchildren to gain experience by conducting hands on activities. As a result, the primary kindergarten schoolchildren become more attentive thereby, developing the ability of better recollection of information (Sellmann & Bogner, 2013). 

The kindergarten children will be allowed to perform a range of activities in the garden learning environment. The main activity that will take place in the garden learning environment includes educating the children by providing them hands on training. For instance, in order to educate the children about the significance of environment, the children will be educated by providing hands-on training. As commented by Wong, Chen and Jan (2012), it is important for the children to develop a sense of belongingness and compassion for the surrounding environment from an early age. Therefore, the garden learning environment will provide an opportunity for the children to relate to the environment.

Secondly, the teacher will engage the primary school children in various playful and co curricular activities. For example, the children will be allowed to play games that will enhance their coordination and cooperation skills. The teachers can also use the garden learning environment for organizing a competition among the children. This will help in developing the overall nature of the children. Moreover, the garden learning environment can also be used for organizing an interactive session for the children. This will provide an opportunity for the children to develop attentive, interactive and participative nature within them (Williams & Dixon, 2013).


Other activities that can be conducted in the learning garden environment includes organizing planting trees, playing soccer, organizing daily lunch picnics and educating the children about the surrounding environment such as the sun and the trees. Educating the children in the garden learning environment will help the children in gaining better knowledge, as the children will be able to experience the educational materials personally (Laaksoharju, Rappe & Kaivola, 2012). Moreover, the garden learning environment can also include playful activities such as homemade rubbery goop recipe, primary colours squishy bag experiment, designing fossils, making sand foams along with colouring and drawing activities (Nedovic & Morrissey, 2013).

As the garden learning environment will be dealing with children, the authorities organizing and conducting the learning environment needs to emphasize on health and hygiene (Wilson, 2012). Therefore, it is important for the authorities for identifying the needs of the selected space. The garden learning needs to have appropriate sitting arrangements for the children that also need to consider the hygienic factor. Therefore, the garden learning environment needs to have chairs and tables under the shade. This will allow the students to sit and take rest according to their convenience. Additionally, considering the nature of the children, the garden learning environment needs to have waste bins at regular space. This will provide an opportunity to ensure cleanliness and tidiness within the learning environment (Cosco, Moore & Smith, 2014). Moreover, the garden learning area needs to have appropriate sanitation facilities for the children. This will help the authority in maintaining the hygienic factor of the children along with maintaining the cleanliness and tidiness of the surrounding environment.

Activities for Kindergarten Schoolchildren in Garden Learning Environment

Apart from the specific needs for ensuring health and hygiene for the children, the garden learning environment also needs to ensure the safety of the children. Therefore, having an adequate number of volunteers for individual children is significant. Additionally, the authorities and the teachers need to ensure that the garden learning environment is free of sharp objects and insects that are injurious to the children. Thus, ensuring this will provide an opportunity for the authorities to ensure safety for the children while attending classes in the garden (Ernst & Tornabene, 2012). Apart from the aforementioned needs, the garden learning environment also needs to have hygienic food and water arrangements for the meals. This will also ensure both health and hygiene for the children. Therefore, the aforementioned needs are relevant for designing a garden learning environment for the kindergarten children.

In terms of theoretical aspect, the psychology of both the teacher and the students play a significant role in designing the classroom. Therefore, while designing the garden learning environment, the authorities need to consider various areas of psychology such as environmental, educational, social and human psychology (Bonnes, 2017). As the garden learning environment is set up in outdoor settings, it is exposed to light, temperature, and noise that might be challenging for the children for education. As commented by Huijts, Molin, and Steg (2012), excessive or inadequate light, temperature and noise hamper the education of the children. Therefore, while designing the garden classroom, the authority needs to consider the environmental psychology of the children.

Secondly, while designing the garden learning environment, the authority needs to consider the human psychology of the children. This is because the human psychology of the children will greatly influence their education in the outdoor learning setting. For instance, some of the children might learn better with practical experiences whereas some of the children might be distracted due to practical experiences. Moreover, the outdoor environment might distract some of the children, as they are able to see the surrounding environment and get distracted whereas some of the children might learn much better when exposed to the external environment. Considering the human psychology of the children is crucial, as this determines the rate of educational success for the children thereby, ensuring overall personality growth and development (Jacquet & Stedman, 2014).

The social psychology greatly influences the education and learning of the children, as this provides an opportunity to study the individual thoughts, behaviours, actions, and feelings. Therefore, while designing the garden learning environment, the social psychology of the attending children needs consideration (Schunk, 2012). Considering the social psychology of the children will help in analysing how the presence of the external environment will affect the education of the children. For instance, some children might develop better attentive and social skills due to outdoor learning environment whereas some children might be less inattentive, as they might be easily distracted due to the external environment. Additionally, considering the social psychology will also provide an opportunity to determine the impact of other surrounding people on the individuals (Greaves, Zibarras & Stride, 2013). Therefore, designing the theoretical perspectives in terms of psychological aspects of children will enhance the quality of learning and education in the garden learning environment.

Importance of Health and Hygiene in Garden Learning Environment

As discussed in the aforementioned section, the psychological aspects of the children in terms of human, social and environmental psychology needs to be considered critically while designing the outdoor garden learning environment. The environmental psychology of the children needs to be considered while designing the garden learning environment. Therefore, the garden learning environment needs to have adequate light and temperature so that the children are able to concentrate on learning. As it is an outdoor learning environment, excessive sunlight and temperature will distract the children, as they will suffer extreme conditions. Therefore, the big trees in the garden can be used for protecting the children from excessive light and temperature (Jonassen & Land, 2012).  Moreover, appropriate noise control mechanism also needs to be implemented so that the children are not easily disturbed by excessive noise.

The human psychology of the children needs to be considered as this will help in determining the impact of the outdoor setting of the learning environment on the children. As discussed, the outdoor learning environment helps in developing attentive skills in the children. Therefore, the teachers need to consider and include the use of materials that can be used by the children for learning. The learning environment might include big and distinctive materials that can be used by the children that will help in creating an impression in them thereby, leaving a mark for enhancing overall development (Bishop & Verleger, 2013). Moreover, it is also essential for the teachers and the volunteers to identify and understand the interest of the children and provide them with necessary support thereby, fulfilling their human psychology.

Additionally, implementing the place theory will provide an opportunity for the authorities to establish a relationship between the physical environment and the children. Therefore, it is essential to identify the appropriate place within the garden that will be most suitable for establishing the outdoor garden learning environment. The learning environment might be established away from the road or factors that might distract the children. This will enable the kindergarten schoolchildren to relate to the learning environment thereby, facilitating a positive connection and influence learning.

Conclusion

In this report, it can be concluded that outdoor garden learning environment for kindergarten school children are important for overall development of the child as well as enhance their quality of education. The garden learning environment will help in developing compassion and respect for the children about the surrounding environment, as the children will be directly exposed to the natural environment. The garden learning environment for the kindergarten schoolchildren will promote a range of playful activities that will help in engaging the children thereby, developing personal characteristics such as attentiveness, discipline, coordination, teamwork, and compassion of the natural environment. However, the health and safety of the children need to be considered while designing a garden learning environment. This can be achieved by keeping waste bins at places, hygienic sanitation, and drinking facilities and ensure that the place is devoid of sharp objects and infections.

It can also be concluded that the psychological aspect of the children needs to be considered while designing the garden learning environment. The human, environmental and social psychology of the children play a critical role in determining the success of the garden learning environment. Therefore, the learning environment might be established away from the road or factors that might distract the children. Also, it is essential to identify the appropriate place within the garden that will be most suitable for establishing the outdoor garden learning environment. Considering the theoretical and psychological aspect of the children will provide an opportunity to ensure that the children are psychological satisfied and concentrate more on learning rather than being distracted.

References

Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A. (2013, June). The flipped classroom: A survey of the research. In ASEE National Conference Proceedings, Atlanta, GA (Vol. 30, No. 9, pp. 1-18).

Block, K., Gibbs, L., Staiger, P. K., Gold, L., Johnson, B., Macfarlane, S., ... & Townsend, M. (2012). Growing community: the impact of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program on the social and learning environment in primary schools. Health Education & Behavior, 39(4), 419-432.

Bonnes, M. (2017). Psychological theories for environmental issues. Routledge.

Cassidy, T. (2013). Environmental psychology: Behaviour and experience in context. Psychology Press.

Clayton, S. D. (Ed.). (2012). The Oxford handbook of environmental and conservation psychology. Oxford University Press.

Cosco, N. G., Moore, R. C., & Smith, W. R. (2014). Childcare outdoor renovation as a built environment health promotion strategy: evaluating the preventing obesity by design intervention. American Journal of Health Promotion, 28(3_suppl), S27-S32.

Ernst, J., & Tornabene, L. (2012). Preservice early childhood educators’ perceptions of outdoor settings as learning environments. Environmental Education Research, 18(5), 643-664.

Gifford, R. (2014). Environmental psychology matters. Annual review of psychology, 65.

Greaves, M., Zibarras, L. D., & Stride, C. (2013). Using the theory of planned behavior to explore environmental behavioral intentions in the workplace. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 34, 109-120.

Huijts, N. M., Molin, E. J., & Steg, L. (2012). Psychological factors influencing sustainable energy technology acceptance: A review-based comprehensive framework. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 16(1), 525-531.

Jacquet, J. B., & Stedman, R. C. (2014). The risk of social-psychological disruption as an impact of energy development and environmental change. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 57(9), 1285-1304.

Jonassen, D., & Land, S. (Eds.). (2012). Theoretical foundations of learning environments. Routledge.

Laaksoharju, T., Rappe, E., & Kaivola, T. (2012). Garden affordances for social learning, play, and for building nature–child relationship. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 11(2), 195-203.

Nedovic, S., & Morrissey, A. M. (2013). Calm active and focused: Children’s responses to an organic outdoor learning environment. Learning environments research, 16(2), 281-295.

Schmuck, P., & Schultz, W. P. (Eds.). (2012). Psychology of sustainable development. Springer Science & Business Media.

Schunk, D. H. (2012). Learning theories an educational perspective sixth edition. Pearson.

Sellmann, D., & Bogner, F. X. (2013). Climate change education: Quantitatively assessing the impact of a botanical garden as an informal learning environment. Environmental Education Research, 19(4), 415-429.

Steg, L., van den Berg, A. E., & De Groot, J. I. (Eds.). (2012). Environmental psychology: An introduction. John Wiley & Sons.

Williams, D. R., & Dixon, P. S. (2013). Impact of garden-based learning on academic outcomes in schools: Synthesis of research between 1990 and 2010. Review of Educational Research, 83(2), 211-235.

Wilson, R. (2012). Nature and young children: Encouraging creative play and learning in natural environments. Routledge.

Wong, L. H., Chen, W., & Jan, M. (2012). How artefacts mediate small?group co?creation activities in a mobile?assisted seamless language learning environment?. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(5), 411-424.

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