A greenhouse is not just a tool for the home gardener to extend the growing season, it can be an incredibly valuable educational tool, too! Growing plants in a greenhouse is not only good for mental and physical wellbeing, but it can teach students responsibility, plant biology, entrepreneurship, and more!
Schools, organizations, businesses, and communities alike can all benefit immensely by starting a greenhouse garden. For example, teachers can utilize the greenhouse classroom to teach lessons in science, math, and art. Participating in greenhouse gardening of any kind also has the potential to improve one’s physical and mental well-being.
Growing plants in a greenhouse is the epitome of hands-on learning. That’s why greenhouses for schools and other organizations play an important role in learning and personal development.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of educational greenhouses, as well as some of our top school greenhouse kits!
Benefits of having a school greenhouse
Having a school greenhouse is an amazing opportunity to teach hands-on lessons to students of all ages. A greenhouse project for students not only kindles curiosity and creativity, but it can be used as a tool for integrating lessons of all kinds, from science to art.
Including students in the growing process and mechanics of a greenhouse is a great way to teach them important skills. Young students can start by learning the basics of plant science and growing, while older students can go as far as learning to start a business!
As school gardens are becoming more popular, it should be noted that without a greenhouse, they have their limitations. Most of a garden’s activity happens over the summer, when students are out of school. A greenhouse, on the other hand, can extend the growing season and make it possible to include students in all stages of plant growth.
Here are some of the ways educational greenhouses at schools can inspire lessons:
Perhaps most obviously, a school greenhouse can easily be utilized to teach many different kinds of science lessons. Inside a greenhouse classroom, students can learn directly about weather, plant and insect biology, and ecology.
Chemistry lessons in the greenhouse can teach students about soil structure, while a microscope can uncover a whole new world of microorganisms! By learning how to grow plants, students also learn about photosynthesis, the importance of light, heat, and oxygen, and how you can supplement these inside of a greenhouse when needed.
With an educational greenhouse on school property, students can learn through hands-on lessons, which are more effective at teaching a topic than simply reading about it. This also goes hand-in-hand with efforts to incorporate STEM-based learning, which focuses on the real world application of science- and math-based concepts.
What better way to teach math lessons than doing so in a greenhouse classroom?
For example, picture a thermometer: a whole series of lessons could be based on the measurement, recording, and graphing of temperature readings over the course of days or even weeks! Similar lessons can be made with focuses on soil temperature, pH readings, plant growth measurements, watering, etc.
For older students, math lessons can take an entrepreneurial turn when it comes time to sell the plants they’ve been growing. This teaches important lessons about cost management, marketing, and profits.
A school greenhouse can also become a location for creativity and inspiration. The bright colors of plants and flowers can inspire artwork of any media (watercolors, drawing, painting, even sculpture).
A greenhouse garden can inspire students to better appreciate nature’s beauty. To take it another step further, a greenhouse can teach lessons on landscape design and even architecture.
Language arts lessons
Reading and writing are an important core subject at schools, but students are easily bored and distracted. Taking a language arts lesson into the greenhouse not only makes it more interesting, but it can encourage students to read in a calm spot or express themselves through writing.
Cooking and other life skills lessons
Don’t think that a greenhouse can only be used to teach lessons in core subjects! The possibilities are endless – from lessons on cooking or self sustainability, students can learn a lot from participating in gardening.
For instance, the produce coming from your school greenhouse can be used in cooking lessons. By making dishes with food that they grew themselves, students can learn to appreciate the effort it takes to grow and supply food. They can also see the big difference between fresh produce and produce sold in supermarkets.
Through this hands-on experience, students can understand the importance of agriculture, and subsequently why it’s important to protect the environment.
On top of that, the greenhouse garden can also teach students about home management, technical skills, and composting, to name just a few.
Benefits of having greenhouses for community projects
Schools aren’t the only place where a greenhouse garden can be valuable. All kinds of organizations and communities can reap the benefits of greenhouse gardening, including NGOs, prisons, community gardens, and military/veteran organizations.
Above all, exposure to nature through gardening can improve one’s physical and mental well-being. For example, gardening can be incorporated into a patient’s healing process as another form of therapy.
While gardening alone is a powerful tool to improve people’s lives, it can be inhibited by climate and weather. A greenhouse has the distinct advantage of allowing year-round participation, rain or shine.
Below are examples of the possible applications of educational greenhouses:
Greenhouses in healthcare facilities
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities could incorporate greenhouses into their landscaping as another way to heal and support their patients.
Years ago, a study showed that surgery patients could recover better when the view out of their bedroom window was of greenery, rather than a plain brick wall. If the aesthetic of greenery was enough to elicit a positive response, what could the potential be of exposure to a garden?
For example, a rehabilitation center with a greenhouse garden could provide a place where patients can participate in gardening, or simply enjoy the greenery in peace. A greenhouse is also more accessible, both physically (for example by being wheelchair accessible) but also in terms of the weather. Inside of a greenhouse, patients can still enjoy fresh greenery in the middle of winter!
Greenhouse gardening to fight PTSD
Nature therapy is an important tool for helping patients with PTSD and other mental health conditions. Many of these programs are established in areas outside of the city, in the forests and mountains, which aren’t always readily accessible.
Greenhouses can bring nature to the city, providing similar benefits in a more accessible manner. In fact, an examination of veterans engaging in a neighborhood gardening program revealed that they found a sense of direction because they had something to look forward to. They felt more comfortable, confident, and secure by caring for plants and watching them grow.
Gardening as therapy doesn’t have to stop at patients with PTSD, either. It can help anyone suffering from mental illness improve their wellbeing.
Greenhouses in prisons and detention centers
The perks of educational greenhouses can even be applied to prison reform at correctional facilities or detention centers. Greenhouse programs can be a tool to enhance social connection among incarcerated individuals.
As with greenhouses in schools, in the correctional system a greenhouse program can be used to teach valuable skills and life lessons. After all, the goal is to reform, right? Greenhouse growing can provide an avenue for critical character development, improving the system’s chances of success.
Public parks are typically green areas dotted with trees where people can meet up, walk, run, and bike. They provide exposure to a natural environment, even in the depth of a big city. Just think of Central Park in the middle of New York!
Visits to parks can enhance feelings of peace, joy, and confidence, and reduce feelings of depression. Public greenhouses, such as botanical gardens, are part of the public parks system and can provide that important connection to nature.
Neighborhood gardens & community projects
A neighborhood or community garden can help alleviate food insecurity in urban areas. Urban gardens provide more access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and can even teach people how to grow their own food!
Community greenhouse gardens can provide further benefits by extending the growing season and providing an additional level of education. Everyone can benefit from more urban gardens of all kinds, because it strengthens the local food supply.
Best greenhouses for schools and community projects
It’s clear that educational greenhouses are invaluable as teaching tools, whether used by schools or other kinds of organizations. Educators experience first-hand the positive impact greenhouses have on the development of students. But they can also be leveraged to support therapy and alleviate food insecurity, for example.
Because the greenhouse is such a critical setting for learning and healing, it’s doubly important to choose the best greenhouse design for your needs. That’s why we’ve selected the top school greenhouse kits to make it easier for you:
Riverstone Industries (RSI) Carver Educational Greenhouse
The Carver Educational Greenhouse is designed specifically with educational programs in mind. This is perfect for institutions that want to support a horticulture program, such as a school or correctional facility.
The 1.7 in galvanized steel frame with slip fit design makes assembly quick and simple, and the 6 mm poly sheeting used for the wall and roof is the same product used in large commercial greenhouses and is guaranteed for 4 years.
This greenhouse is the most economical way to begin or expand an agricultural program.
- 6mm poly film walls, roof, and end walls
- 1.7in galvanized steel base rail and framing system
- 36in wide x 6.8ft tall insulated metal security door with built-in shutter, lock, and key
- One 16ft roll-up curtain system for greenhouse ventilation
- One 18in Quietaire industrial exhaust fan
- Two 2ft deep x 16ft long commercial workbenches
- One 240 volts electric heater
- One 15ft x 18ft (63%) shade cloth with tie-down rope
- One automatic and programmable watering system with timer
- 1in x 3in poly repair tape
- 10-year warranty
Riga XL Greenhouse Kits
The Riga XL greenhouse kit is an innovative, excellently created, and elegantly designed greenhouse manufactured by Hoklartherm, one of the best companies in the greenhouse industry. The high-quality materials ensure longevity while providing more savings on energy conservation.
Additionally, it’s perfect for self-sustaining growth and everything from basic to advanced production. As a winter greenhouse project for students, the Riga XL will perform better in colder climates with lots of snow due its shape, insulation, and Polycarbonate thickness.
The features that guarantee the Riga XL to be the perfect choice for an educational greenhouse include:
- Optimized light transmittance with the 16mm triple-wall polycarbonate panels that are glazed on all four sides as well as UV-coated
- Comes in 5 varied sizes that are all suited for a greenhouse classroom setting:
- 14ft x 16ft
- 14ft x 19ft
- 14ft x 23ft
- 14ft x 26ft
- 14ft x 30ft
- Doors are wide-barn style complete with lock and key which can be installed in front and the back of the greenhouse (easy access for wheelchairs)
- The silicone caulk and heavy-duty rubber seals around the windows ensures optimum insulation
- Enhanced air circulation with the large roof windows
- Includes optimum headroom and outstanding stability and durability against snow and wind
- Considered as the strongest greenhouse design compared to other greenhouse models of the same size
- The frame and structure of the greenhouse is connected permanently to each other to ensure stability and durability against wind and other inclement weather conditions
- 10-year warranty and prorated after five years for the triple wall polycarbonate
- 15-year warranty for the frame
Traditionally, a greenhouse conservatory was built into the landscape as a symbol of wealth. The architecture can be truly elegant with arched glass roofs and wide-open windows. They served not only to overwinter citrus trees but also to host tea time, for instance.
In today’s world, conservatory-style greenhouses are more affordable and still provide some unique benefits. The Solexx Conservatory Greenhouse is the most spacious greenhouse kit available of its kind, making it popular with commercial nurseries and schools.
You can even grow trees inside because of its 9ft 6in tall height, and the front and back doors provide easy access to the entire greenhouse.
Two single-tier side benches run the length of the outer walls and a large 5ft wide, double-tiered bench frame sits in the center of the greenhouse structure with ample growing area. This makes it the perfect school greenhouse kit since you have plenty of surface area to demonstrate your lessons while students can learn hands-on.
- Available in three sizes:
- 16ft x 18ft
- 16ft x 16ft
- 16ft x 20ft
- Heavy-duty composite frame: rust-, corrosion- and mildew-free
- Twin-wall 3.5mm Solexx greenhouse panels (upgrade to 5mm panels for high altitude or heavy snow areas)
- New stronger and lockable doors
- Two side bench frames, full length, 29in deep, hold 500 lbs (optional shelving available)
- Two-tiered 58in x 94in bench frame(s) in the center of the greenhouse (accessible from both sides)
- Four full-length hanging rods hold 200 lbs each
- Sturdy, built-in base, requires no foundation
- Two large Easy Flow Louver air vents (optional solar-powered openers)
- Two doors in the G-308A Conservatory greenhouse kit and four doors in all larger units
- Easy-to-assemble steel fittings
- 10-year limited warranty
Riverstone Industries (RSI) Premium Educational Greenhouse
The RSI Educational Greenhouse Package is designed for schools with horticulture programs, correctional institutions, and serious gardeners for both growing and therapeutic reasons.
The 2in x 2in galvanized steel frame with pre-welded stanchions and commercial graded 8mm twin wall corrugated covering (walls and roof) are the same specifications used in commercial products in the market today. It has 8ft tall walls with a core peak of 11.5 ft for excellent airflow.
- Available sizes:
- 12ft x 18ft (216 sq. ft.)
- 12ft x 24ft (288 sq. ft.)
- 16ft x 24ft (384 sq. ft.)
- 16ft x 30ft (480 sq. ft.)
- Two 24-inch motorized shutters for air circulation
- One 18-inch Quietaire industrial exhaust fan
- Two 3ft deep 24ft long commercial workbenches
- One two-stage commercial thermostat to control fan & shutters
- One FSA-30: 30,000 BTU LP high-efficiency gas heater
- One 3in vent pipe kit for LP gas heater
- One single stage thermostat for the heater
- One 26ft x 26ft (63%) shade cloth with tie-down rope
- One automatic and programmable watering system with time