Why This School Teacher Started Using Smart Indoor Gardens
We’re always thrilled to hear how Click and Grow is used as an educational tool in classrooms.
Whether it’s a science class that wants to keep their plants healthy or a cooking class that’s looking for a way to spark creativity, it's heartwarming to know our gardens can be used to engage and educate students.
Today we’re excited to share the story of Grade 5 teacher, Jessica Shea. We spoke with her about how she uses smart gardens to inspire students at Paradise Elementary School in Canada.
How did you find out about Click and Grow?
I found out about Click and Grow in 2018 from a teacher friend. We both worked in a very rural, fly-in community in Northern Labrador. The population was 300-400 people. Because the community was fly-in only, if the weather was not cooperative, we did not get planes in with fresh produce. Also, by the time produce did get to us, it was on its last leg and not very fresh.
My coworker and I discussed the possibility of growing our own foods from there, and she informed me of the company Click and Grow. We both ordered our own systems from there. I ordered the Smart Garden 3, along with lettuce and tomatoes to grow so I could have my own fresh produce!
Why did you decide to start using the Click and Grow smart gardens in your school, and why did you choose the Smart Garden 3?
After using the Smart Garden 3 at home for a while, I decided to bring it into my classroom. At this time I was an Instructional Resource Teacher (special education). We had been discussing the students’ diets and it was evident that students had minimal fresh foods in their diets. Living in a Northern, Indigenous community, the diets consisted of a lot of meat and frozen foods.
Since the land was also very sandy, there were no gardens in the community, so I decided to bring my Click and Grow from home into my classroom so students could have access to fresh foods, as well as watch the foods grow and change everyday at school. Since then, I have continued bringing my Click and Grow into my classroom each and every year. My Smart Garden 3 has traveled with me and been in 3 different schools so far!
How do you use Click and Grow as an educational tool?
Click and Grow can be an educational tool because it helps students appreciate and understand how food is grown. They learn that there is a process to getting the food that ends up on their plate, and they take more pride in it knowing they’ve grown it themselves. It also gives them the responsibility of something to take care of in the classroom. We also experiment with different types of foods and plants to see how different things grow.
What do you and your students enjoy most about using Click and Grow?
My students love when they get to try the finished product, or get to take the plant home. When I grow flowers in my Click and Grow, I will let students take them home once they’ve bloomed. They replant them at home and can continue growing them at home. Then we get to start new pods and begin the process over again! Students also love being able to try different foods. Growing lettuce is always a hit.
When I worked in a very small school, I could let students come and go as they pleased to take a piece of lettuce to eat. Now, being in a bigger school we have to share the product between more students. I have 24 students in my Grade 5 class right now, which is why we were excited to get the Smart Garden 9 to add to our classroom. We can grow more at one time, which means everyone gets to try more foods! Students are also very excited to see that there are varieties of the foods they like - such as yellow tomatoes. Many of my students have never heard of them before so they are excited for them to grow so they can try them!
In your opinion, why is it good for kids to learn about gardening and sustainability?
Gardening is a good skill for children to bring into their adulthood. It can spark an interest in some students that they will continue to explore moving forward. It teaches them the importance of appreciating the food they grow, as well as the importance of taking care of the environment. If they grow it, there is a better chance that they will try a vegetable they may not want to willingly try at home. It opens their eyes to new foods and learning the processes of food growth.
What advice would you give other parents or teachers about using Click & Grow?
Click & Grow is a great product to use to introduce children to growing their own foods. Since it is a low maintenance system that yields results quickly, it keeps kids interested in the process. Everyday there is a difference so it keeps kids excited about it. My main advice would be, let the kids do it all! Set up, plant, water - let them do it all! It's so easy to use, and with your guidance and direction initially, kids will be able to do it all themselves and appreciate the results!
Thanks so much, Jessica, for sharing your story with us.
If you’re a teacher and want to inspire your students with indoor gardening, why not start today? Choose a garden that suits your classroom and start your young explorers on a path to learning more about nature, sustainability, and healthy living.
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