Gardens Are Transforming American Schools

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Our Monday green news bring you the latest on nutrition, good causes and child education:

school gardens, kids and gardens, healthy kids

Photo courtesy of Kurt and Sybilla via Flickr

  • Gardens are transforming American schools: The name “kindergarten” originates from German and translates as “child-garden.” The concept was promoted in the early 19th century by education pioneer Friedrich Froebel, who  educated children in actual gardens, and believed that a connection to nature would be beneficial to their development. The movement to integrate gardens and education is on the rise once again, mainly thanks to the Californian project Edible Schoolyard. The state of California now has more than six thousand gardens at public and private schools; while nationwide, there are already tens of thousands. Ms.Waters, the founder of Edible Schoolyard program, describes gardens as “interactive classrooms” that have capacity to improve virtually any area of children’s learning. As she explains: “Kids can count beans and measure plant growth with math teachers, explore a living ecosystem in science class, draw vining snap peas with art instructors, and learn about the history of civilization as they harvest corn.”
  • Diet soda is not a good replacement for a regular one when it comes to teeth: A recent study published in the journal General Dentistry examined teeth damage of men and women who consumed as much as 2 liters of diet soda per day for a period of three to five years. The results were shocking: teeth damage of heavy diet soda consumers compared to damage caused by regular use of drugs such as methamphetamine or crack cocaine. According to Dr. Bassiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, who lead the research: “A constant exposure to the acid in soda, which is in the form of citric acid and phosphoric acid, can cause erosion and significant oral damage without good dental hygiene.
  • Electric school buses are a win-win choice: In the United States alone there are an estimated 480,000 school buses that transport about 25 million students to school and back home on every school day. If these diesel-powered buses were replaced with electric school buses, there would be huge benefits to the environment as well as school districts’ budgets. According to John Phraner, a president of company Trans Tech, which recently presented their new all-electric school bus at the 2013 National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Annual Summit: “An electric bus can save a school district about 16 gallons of fuel a day, or around $11,000 in fuel savings over a year, not to mention maintenance savings. Even more, the frequent stops that school buses make mean that an electric one can capture some of the energy used in applying the brakes to recharge their batteries, extending their range.”
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