The blossoming health and academic benefits of school gardens

Story highlights

  • Research suggests that school gardens help students get excited about school and do better on tests
  • About a quarter of U.S. public elementary schools have a school garden; they are less common in low-income areas

(CNN)Many of the kids who go to John J. Pershing Elementary School in Dallas do not spend much time outdoors. They live in what some would describe as unsafe neighborhoods and their parents often do not let them go outside and play.

"They look at life through a window," said Margie Hernandez, the school's principal.
But these kids are at least experiencing the great outdoors when they are at school. Four years ago, Pershing built a garden that has grown to include a pond and four chickens. Teachers take students into the garden at least once a week for class or just for a walk, to pick some basil or water the chickens.