HOW TO GROW A SCHOOL GARDEN: a complete guide for parents and teachers

by A. Bucklin-Sporer and R.K. Pringle

Publisher: Timber Press (2010)
ISBN 978-1-60469-000-2

Paperback £17.99

Firstly this book is directed at the US market, aimed at parents/teachers of children from Kindergarten through to 8th Grade (equivalent of our Reception (4-5 years of age) through to year 9, that is 13- to14-year-olds).  However, within this lavishly illustrated book there are no photos of children over the age of about 10, nor are any of the activities directly related to older students whereas there are plenty specifically aimed at the younger ones. Therefore, I would say that that the book will be most beneficial to those dealing with children up to end of our Key Stage 2 (10- to11-years-old).

That aside it is a very useful book, giving numerous suggestions for getting round problems which occur in the process of school gardening eg recalcitrant head teacher, having no money, having no equipment etc followed by what to do with the garden once it is up and growing; there is a lovely chapter on school garden recipes. I also like the fact that the book does not make the process sound easy, which as anyone who has been involved in a school garden project will attest to. Right from the start the authors acknowledge that without a band of dedicated parents nothing much will happen, it is them that will provide the enthusiasm, the labour and the finance through donation and/or fundraising.

Interestingly the authors suggest for the long-term success of a school garden that a ‘garden educator’ be appointed and that a salary of around $15,000 pa be allowed for this. They even provide a job description and an application procedure for parents to follow. So either funds are much easier to come by in the States or that’s one hell of a lot of cake and cookie sales.

This book is inspirational, mostly keeps its feet on the ground and would be a valuable addition to any school’s, or parents’, resources.

Claire Hewlett