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Noting that the recent interest in gardening with young children has resulted in a variety of programs but little support to teachers or horticulturists on how to understand the developmental needs of children and how to adapt gardening activities to those needs, this paper presents principles and goals of developmentally appropriate gardening. The paper discusses five principles of developmentally appropriate gardening: (1) because children are active learners, the emphasis should be on hands-on interaction, play, and discovery; (2) typical child development provides a framework preparing the learning environment and planning goals; (3) it is important to provide experiences that stimulate childrens development in increasingly complex and organized ways; (4) because childrens development occurs more rapidly with practice, it is important to include others who influence the childs choice of activities; and (5) a variety of activities is necessary to support children who learn through the contrasted learning styles of visual, auditory, and tactile learning. Important goals of a gardening program are examined with respect to how such goals can be implemented for different age groups: (1) teaching environmental stewardship; (2) practicing personal growth and social skills; (3) providing for multidisciplinary, active learning; (4) teaching about nutrition and health; (5) providing science education opportunities; (6) providing opportunities for fun; and (7) teaching skills that can be used later in life. (KB)

Descriptors: Childhood Needs, Cognitive Style, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Early Childhood Education, Educational Objectives, Educational Philosophy, Educational Principles, Gardening, Young Children

Autor: Stoecklin, Vicki L.


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