The Shipley Magazine

Sowing Seeds of Excellence: Shipley's Horticulture Program

Sarah Sterling
Horticulture has deeply enriched Shipley’s history. Many of the School’s longest-standing traditions and events are steeped in horticulture, from the concept of ‘Acorns to Oaks,’ to Secret Gardens, and Sprouts’ decades-long involvement in the Philadelphia Flower Show. Even the farm fields on which athletic events are played originated as agricultural land used by the School. Horticulture is embedded in the foundation of Shipley. If tended to, it can provide immediate, continuous, and long-term benefits to the community, as well as tangible evidence of the pursuit of our strategic goals.

As society becomes increasingly urbanized and digitized, knowledge of and exposure to the natural world continues to diminish. The impact of this type of deficit has been thoroughly researched for years, and we now know that access to nature is of paramount importance in establishing and maintaining human well-being. This is especially true when it comes to the social and emotional health of children and adolescents.

Horticulture programming and Sprouts pervasively address the Vision 20/26 goal of Educational Excellence, specifically the strategy to “Re-envision ideas of where we learn, when we learn, and whom we learn from.” And as we broaden the use of horticulture in our School, we not only make a positive impact at Shipley, but on the world as well.

Reaping the Benefits of Horticulture in Education

Horticulture is one way that schools have reconnected young people with the natural world and positively impacted students’ well-being. Studies have shown that:
  • Students who have access to horticulture programs report feeling “’calm,’ ‘safe,’ ‘happy,’ and ‘relaxed’ in a school garden.” (Habib & Doherty, 2007)
  • Children who work in gardens are more likely to accept people different from themselves. (Dyment & Bell, 2006)
  • Students who participated in horticulture-based programs had increased self-understanding, interpersonal skills, and cooperative skills when compared to students who lacked such programming. (Robinson & Zajicek, 2005)

Other Horticulture News from Shipley:

Sprouts Earn 1st Place in 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show Design Challenges
From Seed to Plant: Lessons in Sustainability Start in Shipley’s Pre-K

Read More from The Shipley Magazine

The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.