Volume 13 Issue 2 (2024)

Fostering Diversity and Participation with School Gardens: Examining Possibilities and Challenges under Different National Educational Policies

pp. 122-138  |  Published Online: June 2024  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2024.132.8

Ana Eloisa Carvalho , Sara Blanc , Manuel Aguiar , Ana Cristina Torres


Background/purpose.  Despite progress in inclusive education policies, research has largely neglected the analysis of learning environments that are adjustable for all students. School gardens are learning environments that emphasize the broader view of participation on current perspectives of inclusion. This article discusses the possibilities and limitations of using school gardens in inclusive learning environments and their relations with different inclusive education national policies.

Materials/methods. We performed a content analysis of inclusive education national policies and 16 learning activities tested and implemented in four schools from Slovenia, Spain, Greece, and Portugal participating in an exchange project which promoted teaching with school gardens supported by digital tools.

Results. The study revealed illustrations of how activities that combine the use of school gardens with digital tools can emphasize collaboration and participation in inclusive learning approaches. However, fostering inclusive practices was found to be either constrained or promoted by each country’s view of inclusion in educational policies.

Conclusion. Integrating teacher collaboration and project-based learning with garden-based school activities fosters student collaboration and participation, while offering enriched sensorial experiences that benefit the learning and development of all students. School gardens also foster inclusion through deepening intercultural understanding and stronger student interactions that heighten awareness and normalization of diversity.

Keywords: educational policy, environmental education, inclusion, school gardens, sustainability


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