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 The Hungarian Foundation for School Gardens

 

After one and half year of collaboration the Hungarian Foundation for School Gardens was registered in March, 2015, aiming at supporting the work of communities owning or planning a school garden, by coordinating and information activities. The members – a biologist, an economist, an environmental agricultural engineer, a pedagogue – are all practicing school garden leaders. 

 

Our aims:

         Helping a generation to act for itself and its environment through regular practical activities in the school garden. Children can experience by working that conscious forming of their neighbourhood transforms it for their benefit. We would like to achieve by children’s own experience the practical learning of responsible environment use (environment stewardship), as an adult the ability to think responsibility on their environment. We would like to support children to obtain basic gardening knowledge after finishing school as a teenager, by which they could contribute to their food supply, thus reducing the dependence and insecurity feeling.

- Demonstrating for children and teachers that garden activity, due to its complexity, is a great possibility for the harmonic development of personality; for recalling school material in practice; for experiments, cooperation, new aesthetic and sensory experiences; to teach basic gardening; for the recognition of basic environmental needs through showing ecological processes; to promote healthy lifestyle and healthy food, to form conscious consumption.

- School garden activity from early school years, fitting to age, acts as career orientation towards agricultural jobs. In Hungary, with its excellent natural conditions, but as in most welfare states facing an aging farmer society, it has great importance.

- School garden activities should involve other from outside of schools. We expect parents, grandparents, who know a lot in kitchen gardens, and patiently teach children. Get local gardener and pensioner clubs involved, get in touch with the neighbourhood. Thus, children experience the fun of team work, its supporting, helping value.

- Helping a generation to act for itself and its environment through regular practical activities in the school garden. Children can experience by working that conscious forming of their neighbourhood transforms it for their benefit. We would like to achieve by children’s own experience the practical learning of responsible environment use (environment stewardship), as an adult the ability to think responsibility on their environment. We would like to support children to obtain basic gardening knowledge after finishing school as a teenager, by which they could contribute to their food supply, thus reducing the dependence and insecurity feeling.

- Demonstrating for children and teachers that garden activity, due to its complexity, is a great possibility for the harmonic development of personality; for recalling school material in practice; for experiments, cooperation, new aesthetic and sensory experiences; to teach basic gardening; for the recognition of basic environmental needs through showing ecological processes; to promote healthy lifestyle and healthy food, to form conscious consumption.

- School garden activity from early school years, fitting to age, acts as career orientation towards agricultural jobs. In Hungary, with its excellent natural conditions, but as in most welfare states facing an aging farmer society, it has great importance.

- School garden activities should involve other from outside of schools. We expect parents, grandparents, who know a lot in kitchen gardens, and patiently teach children. Get local gardener and pensioner clubs involved, get in touch with the neighbourhood. Thus, children experience the fun of team work, its supporting, helping value.

- We are convinced that knowledge and practice obtained in school gardens has special importance in disadvantaged regions. Here, apart from general educational aims, it is a model for self-supporting, a contribution to basic food supply for pupils and their parents.

- As a separate field we also focus on gardens in special needs education, where developing-therapeutic values of school gardens are highly important.

 

A network-based exchange of knowledge and experiences is necessary for the realization of these aims, thus, our first step was the establishment of our Hungarian School Garden Network.

As a Foundation we aim at a central role in networking, communication, lobbying at central authorities.

 

We started our activity as volunteers, with the following results:

- we have established the Hungarian School Garden Network, which grows month by month. We provide information for the members, organize visits, form discounts and service, find the typical problems and seek solutions;

- developed this website, which is a communication channel for good practice examples, ideas, solutions;

- we have established an informal professional team, the School Garden Expert Team, as a field of cooperation of organizations with interests in school gardens. Our partners are: the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development, Hungarian Network of Eco-Schools, „Biokultúra” Association for Organic Agriculture, University of West Hungary, Office of Rural Development of the Dioecesis Vaciensis, Hungarian Society for Environmental Education, Hungarian Climate Alliance.

We organize information and motivating programmes: www.iskolakertekert.hu/szakmai-muhely/muhely-esemenyek

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