School uses plants to integrate children with special needs
A school in Póvoa de Varzim is using the cultivation of plants and gardening as a way to provide 27 students, who benefit from inclusive education, better academic and social skills.
The project was born some years ago in the Campus Open Campus Group, in the parish of Beiriz, with the creation of a pedagogic garden, but now it has evolved into a greenhouse, offered by a company, where the group of children with special needs is responsible for taking care of several plants.
The intention is that with this activity students, aged between 10 and 19 years, learn sustainability practices, develop basic concepts of mathematics, science, Portuguese and English, and, above all, promote interpersonal relationships.
“It is a more practical activity, a job that could mean in the future employability and even autonomy as adults. It is something closer to the real, more appealing and motivating for learning,” explained Gracinda Cadilhe, coordinator of special education grouping school.
The teacher recalled that many of the students involved in the project “suffer from autism spectrum disorders that need space to expand energy, and where they can touch, feel and smell.”
“Teaching has to be differentiated and proactive, respecting the individuality and the need of each one. Putting these children to feel and work in the greenhouse or vegetable garden helps them to discover where things come from. , it is important to return to earth, “said the coordinator.
In the new greenhouse, with about 80 square meters, the children are taking care of plants that in the future will give blueberries and raspberries, developing the perception that when they produce they will receive the return of their work and effort.
“I feel that with these activities there is a clear evolution of these children, many come little mature and little autonomous, but are developing their social skills and improving content skills in the various subjects we taught in the classroom,” said Gracinda Cadilhe.
The director of the Campus Open School Grouping assured that these projects developed in the educational establishment “bet on an inclusive educational policy, worked with several partners of the local community.”
“In this case, with the support of the company Cotesi, the Violas Group, which offered us the structure, we managed to have a bigger greenhouse with other resources, to work on an inclusive logic and to reinforce students’ knowledge and capacity,” said João Grancho.
He said that school principals are increasingly pushing for “policies that can meet the profile of learners so that they succeed”, believing that “the work of teachers and the contributions of the partners that can add value for the creation of new projects “.
“We have a great ambition to start from this proposal [of greenhouse], we can develop others. We have designed for the future to build a root space dedicated to a wider pedagogical kitchen that can be used by all the students of the school,” he concluded. João Grancho.