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Using school gardens as a vehicle for health promotion for elementary school youth: A review of the literature

Doerfler, Hillary Anne (2011) Using school gardens as a vehicle for health promotion for elementary school youth: A review of the literature. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Gardens have been incorporated into elementary school education since the 1800s and are gaining popularity once again. The growing interest in school gardens stems from recent trends toward eating locally grown food as well as public health concerns about improving the nutrition of youth. School garden programs can be utilized as a vehicle for improving the health and well being of elementary school youth, in both low and non-low socioeconomic (SES) elementary schools. A review of the literature indicates that school garden programs have been successful in improving academic achievement, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and nutrition knowledge, building social skills, interpersonal relationships and team-building skills among elementary school youth. Through hands-on learning, gardens can enhance classroom lessons while providing youth with environmental experiences. However, barriers to successful implementation exist especially in low SES schools. These include: a lack of funding, the onus of responsibility is placed on teachers who lack knowledge of gardening skills, and little community and parent involvement. Some recommendations for improving school garden programs in order to increase sustainability and success include: 1) provide gardening techniques, skills and tips on how to incorporate gardens into classroom lessons during pre-service education for early education teachers, 2) include community volunteers to alleviate the burden on teachers, 3) complete garden program evaluations.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Doerfler, Hillary
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTrauth, Jeanettetrauth@pitt.eduTRAUTH
Committee MemberKeane, Christophercrkcity@pitt.eduCRKCITY
Committee MemberDodd, Judithjdodd@pitt.eduJDODD
Date: 29 June 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 12 April 2011
Approval Date: 29 June 2011
Submission Date: 5 April 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: garden-based learning
Other ID:, etd-04052011-141607
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:34
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38


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