This 30m2 school garden is found in Skhirat (in Arabic: الصخيرات), a Moroccan seaside town situated between the administrative capital Rabat and the economic capital, Casablanca. The school has about 456 students divided into elementary school classes, two pre-school classes, and two classes for children with special needs. The garden allows for a transversal approach to teaching and also helps to develop life skills and knowhow, while also imparting useful knowledge. The garden acts as a flexible tool that can be used in different ways, depending on the ages of the children. The children who are actively involved in cultivation belong to the environmental club and number about 35 students.
We try to respect the concept of our school’s garden, which brings together educational goals like local geography and general knowledge, as well as interdisciplinary goals. What’s more, the students use the garden to learn, to improve the school’s environment, to learn respect for the school environment and become interested in its maintenance, to create a prosperous and lasting garden through the use of organic methods, cultivate in a sure and lasting way, and finally to improve their eating habits.
Some of the crops grown here are: beets, turnips, corn, tomatoes, and carrots. The children sow, plant, maintain, and harvest the crops. During their time in the garden the students also learn about soil, how plants grow, and how to pick fruit properly. This allows them to distinguish between the different kinds of vegetables (dried, leafy, and roots). The gardening activities are done in collaboration among teachers, students, an association of parents that is very active, and a professional gardener. Indeed, the garden is cultivated harmoniously with nature, it does not pollute and no chemical products are used, while different cultivations are encouraged.
To protect the plants from slugs and snails the students use coffee grounds, sawdust, ashes, or egg shells. A mixture of garlic and water is used to keep aphids and fungal diseases away. Black soap is a natural insecticide, while manure and nettles are used at times to treat the plants. Manure is also used, along with compost, to keep the soil fertile and healthy.
Skhirat, Rabat-Salé region