Gardening can help children with special educational needs (SEN) to express themselves and learn new skills, a study suggests.
Youngsters with SEN who took part in gardening projects learned an average of 15 new skills, a report by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) found.
These ranged from gardening-based skills, such as planning, harvesting and using tools, to mentoring and enterprise.
Teachers also said that pupils who took part in the RHS sessions retained more information and reinforced what they had learnt in other subjects.
The study was based on evidence from projects attended by 130 students in six different schools and alternative learning centres.
The findings also show that gardening helped children to develop friendships, offered them an escape from their frustrations, provided a practical way for them to get back into education and opened them up to future possibilities in the field.
Sarah-Jane Mason, SEN project officer for the RHS and co-author of the report, said: “Gardening is a fantastic tool for breaking down barriers and offering children a different environment in which to learn.
“Gardening is a practical subject, so for a child with SEN this means it is accessible. It makes learning fun and opens up a new world of possibility.”
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