Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


An Exploration of School Gardening and Its Relationship to Holistic Education

A Major Paper Submitted to The Rural Extension Studies Program in The School of Environmental Design and Rural Development of The University of Guelph

by Valerie Green April, 2004
In partial fulfilment of requirements for the degree of Master of Science,
© Valerie Green, 2004

Below we have extracted the Abstract and Table of Contents to the complete paper (text only) which can be found here: An Exploration of School Gardening and Its Relationship to Holistic Education (20,000 words) (Word doc. 240K)


An Exploration of School Gardening and Its Relationship to Holistic Education

My major paper includes an integration of diverse disciplines, past personal experiences, and an exploration of school gardening as a potential vehicle for holistic education. It explores the commonalties between the disciplines of urban agriculture, ethnobotany, horticulture and human culture, landscape architecture, environmental education and holistic education. It investigates the school gardening movement, particularly in North America, as well as holistic education theorists and themes. Specifically this paper is an exploration of school gardening in Ontario, with an emphasis on vegetable gardens, and their relationship to holistic curriculum. Holistic curriculum seeks to establish relationships between mind and body, disciplines, persons and the natural world. In effect this research seeks to answer the question: Can the design, development and integration of school gardening in school curriculum provide a means in which to achieve holistic education. My major paper is an account of the process taken in search of the answer to this question. The answer I found: In the process of the realization of the human-Nature connection a potential exists for school gardening to enhance the connections within community, subjects and Self, thereby achieving components of holistic education theory and practice. Multiple qualitative methods including published and unpublished documents, dialogue and interviews were utilized in data collection.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures

Chapter 1: Introduction
Statement of the Problem
Definition of Terms
A Personal Perspective
Research Question
Research Design
Case Study
Data Collection of the Case Study
Data Analysis
Theoretical Framework
Limitations of the Study
Significance of the Study

Chapter 2: Holistic Education
Theorists Past and Present
Three Holistic Educators and their Schools
Additional Theorists/Educators
Education Models and Holistic Education Theory and Practice

Instruction & Curriculum Approaches
Six Relationships of Holistic Education
Connections with Self, Subject, Community and Nature
Integrated Curriculum
Chapter Summary

Chapter 3: Human-Nature Connection
Human Issues in Horticulture
Environmental Education Theory, Practice and the Nature Connection

Chapter Summary

Chapter 4: A Historical Perspective of School Gardening
The History of School Gardening
School Gardening in Present-day
Findings: School Gardening in Ontario
Chapter Summary

Chapter 5: Discussion and Final Reflections
Final Reflections

Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendations


Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C

List of Tables

1 Curriculum and Instruction Models
2 Approaches to Environmental Education
3 Connections in Holistic Education Curriculum

List of Figures

1 A Holistic Stance
2 Connections within Education
3-7 Sketches


A special thanks to friends and family with whom I have shared in the last two years much laughter and a few tears, insightful and well not so insightful conversations, support, strength and love. My most sincere thanks to my advisor Glen Filson and my committee member Alice Hovorka whose continuing enthusiasm and guidance have made the completion of this paper possible. To the professors who have challenged and encouraged me I am grateful. And finally, a very special thank you to all my students from whom I have learnt so much.

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Revised February 8, 2005

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture