Preschoolers learn awareness of plant biology from raising vegetables at school

Noriko Toyama*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study investigated whether a preschool's practice of growing vegetables would affect the school's students' awareness of biology, plants, and procedures of cultivation. In Study 1, individual interviews were conducted with 18 six-year-olds at a school where the children regularly participated in raising vegetables, and 16 at another school where the children had little experience raising vegetables. The children with experience growing vegetables tended to view vegetables as living things, based on biological reasons, and to know more about cultivation methods for those vegetables that they were familiar with than the children in the other school did. When the children were asked about fruit that they had had no experience raising, no differences were found between the children at the 2 schools. Study 2 found that the 6-year-old children (n = 16) at the school that grew vegetables were more likely to see grass and trees as living things than were the 6-year-olds (n = 19) at the other school. Also, when asked about the effects of over-watering and lack of sunlight, the children who grew vegetables generated more biological inferences about edible plants, whereas no differences between the children at the 2 schools were found when the children were asked those same questions about non-edible plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-502
Number of pages12
JournalJapanese Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Children's awareness of the life status of plants
  • Naive biology
  • Preschool children.
  • Raising vegetables at preschool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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