Capstone/Dissertation Title

Schoolyard Gardens: Contexts for Academic and Social-Emotional Learning

Term

Summer 8-5-2015

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Bill Lindquist

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Katie Oberle

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Lonni Skrentner

Abstract

The research question addresses the question, how are teachers making use of schoolyard gardens to accomplish academic and social-emotional learning goals? The motivation for the study is the burgeoning schoolyard garden movement and the author’s interest in nature education, experiential learning, and developing intra and interpersonal growth in children. This qualitative case study examines three schools with gardens through interviews with a teacher from each school. Key influences for this project are the early 20th century Nature Study movement, place-based education, and the work of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California. These sources describe integrating garden education as a method for helping students learn flexible thinking, develop intrinsic motivation, foster social skills and self awareness, and break down barriers between content areas. The author develops four major themes that will aid in the development of new garden programs based on the study of varying garden sites.

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