Gardening 'helps children behave'
Teaching children how to garden helps them to become responsible, realise where food comes from and calms their behaviour, a survey suggests.
A poll by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) reveals that more than eight in 10 (81.6%) parents garden with their children.
But it also raises concerns that today's parents may be outshone by their youngsters and their own parents, because few of them were taught to garden at school.
Almost half of the parents questioned (48%) said their child knows more or the same amount about gardening as they do. And four fifths of parents said their own parents know more or the same about gardening as they do.
The RHS warned that a lack of gardening instruction at school had left today's generation of parents without proper horticultural knowledge.
Less than 1% (0.6%) of parents were taught to garden by a school teacher, the RHS claimed, compared with 55% of grandparents and 40% of children.
Just 26% of parents said they had a school garden when they were a child, while 58.8% said their child now has access to a school garden, with 76.2% revealing their youngster uses the facility.
Sue Biggs, director-general of the RHS, said: "These findings suggest that today's parents, who attended school during the 1980s and 90s, missed out on a huge opportunity, especially as gardening dropped off the agenda.
"When children learn to garden it is a skill that stays with them for life, something they will use and fall back on as they grow up. This is evident from the grandparents we surveyed, among whom nearly 80% say they like to garden, and more than a third of them grow their own fruit and vegetables.
"From the schools we work with we know they are desperate for more help from local parents and other adults to build and maintain school gardens. But with 65% of parents admitting that their own parents (now grandparents) know more about gardening than they do, and nearly half believing their own children, aged 4-11, have equal or better horticultural knowledge than themselves, it would seem today's parents are shy of volunteering their time probably due to a lack of knowledge."