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Offering a fresh approach to bringing life to schools and schools to life, this book goes beyond touting the benefits of learning gardens to survey them as a whole-systems design solution with potential to address myriad interrelated social, ecological, and educational issues. The authors creatively place soil at the center of the discourse on sustainability education and learning gardens design and pedagogy. Seven attributes from the metaphor of living soil are presented as a guide: Cultivating a sense of place; Fostering curiosity and wonder; Discovering rhythm and scale; Valuing biocultural diversity; Embracing practical experience; Nurturing interconnectedness; Awakening the senses.
The living soil of learning gardens forms the basis of a new metaphoric language serving to contest dominant efficiency and accountability metaphors presently influencing educational discourse. Examples from urban schools and from students, teachers, and school leaders provide practical understanding of how bringing life to schools can indeed bring schools to life.
Part I: Learning Gardens, Living Soil, And Sustainability Education
- Introduction: Modern Imperatives for Life and Learning
- Learning Gardens and Life's Lessons
- Living Soil as Metaphorical Construct for Education
Part II: Learning Gardens Principles Linking Pedagogy And Pedology
- Cultivating a Sense of Place
- Fostering Curiosity and Wonder
- Discovering Rhythm and Scale
- Valuing Biocultural Diversity
- Embracing Practical Experience
- Nurturing Interconnectedness
- Awakening the Senses
Part III: Practice Comes Alive From The Ground Up
- Teacher, Principal, and Superintendent Perspectives
- Moving Forward
Appendix: Selected Resources and Programs
Dilafruz R. Williams is Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy in the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University. An avid gardener, she served on the Portland School Board for eight years.
Jonathan D. Brown teaches courses in permaculture, whole-systems design, organic gardening, and sustainability education. He has worked extensively in small-scale integrated agriculture.