A new report by the Cornell Garden Based Learning program:
“Researchers have discovered the secrets to enhancing youth participation in school and community-based garden programs. A three-year study entitled “Greener Voices” proves that children will engage in learning more readily when given responsibility for decision making and planning. “
There is a really interesting “ladder of participation” that models the types of interactions kids can have with gardens. One of the brilliant things this extension program did was partner with Early Childhood faculty members to help build and assess the program.
There are a huge number of resources there; I can’t wait to try them! (They have a “getting started” section that lists what you need to consider before jumping in.) There is also a nice list of research papers that support and document their work.
You can read the actual paper online if you have a subscription–it’s very interesting: Greener Voices: An Exploration of Adult Perceptions of Participation of Children and Youth in Gardening Planning, Design, and Implementation. HortTechnology 17: 151-272 (2007)