Horticulture on the national curriculum?

An expert in horticulture is calling for the subject to be included on the national curriculum.
Alex Brotherton, contract manager at national green services provider Glendale, says incorporating the topic into primary and secondary education would result in a range of benefits for children.
From facilitating learning and encouraging active lifestyles to understanding responsibility, gardening has been proven to improve confidence, support emotional intelligence and boost social skills.
According to the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), only around 1.5 million of the 5.5 million primary school pupils in the UK have the opportunity take part in school gardening. Furthermore, primary schools only have 33 pence per pupil to spend on school gardening.
The Royal Horticultural Society has also campaigned for gardening to be used as a teaching tool.
Alex says elements of the subject could be incorporated into those already on the curriculum, such as maths, science and geography, and could also help to raise early awareness of career opportunities in the industry.
He said: “Horticulture offers a vast range of benefits to people of all ages, ability and level of interest, and it’s never too late to get involved. But stimulating and nurturing an interest in the topic from an early age has huge advantages that shouldn’t be overlooked. We know the countless benefits gardening has to offer – from improving overall health and reducing stress levels, to helping bring communities together through activities such as communal planting projects.
“Incorporating this into education would be highly beneficial to pupils. It may be perceived that there isn’t the time to dedicate weekly classes entirely to horticulture, but it could easily be combined with subjects already being taught in schools. For example, a maths lesson doesn’t always have to take place indoors with textbooks. Get children outside, explore measurements and calculations in relation to digging out a flowerbed, or planning planting schemes. Gardening can also be used to teach children about sustainability and understanding where food comes from, which in turn can promote healthy eating and living.
“An insight into environmental issues, such as climate change, and what can be done to tackle them can only be a good thing too. Wildlife conservation is another hugely important matter that children should be aware of; being mindful of the declining population of species such as hedgehogs and ensuring habitats are protected. School gardens are also a fantastic way to capture the interest and imagination of little ones, while increasing physical activity.
Reports have shown that spending time outdoors has an incredibly positive impact on children’s health and taking children outside to get closer to nature would have countless benefits.”

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