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Training imaginative minds by planting seeds at the Presbyterian School of Kabuga in Rwanda

Teachers find honing students’ gardening skills can boost their creative spark

by the Rev. Dr. Ndayizeye Munyansanga Olivier | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Teachers at the Presbyterian School of Kabuga in Rwanda are finding that working gardening into the curriculum helps make their primary students more responsible. (Photo courtesy of the Rev. Dr. Ndayizeye Munyansanga Olivier)

The Presbyterian School of Kabuga in Rwanda discovered that gardening helps primary school students to demonstrate greater responsibility at school and at home. It is a crucial part of teaching because it leads to creativity and innovation. It is a valuable life skill tool which can influence all aspects of life.

Inviting small children to plant seeds wakes up their spirit of innovation and inventiveness, leading to the improvement of their learning process and the development of their individual capabilities. The action of planting also makes a positive contribution to the society. It increases their confidence and their sense of nurturing and following up. Gardening is a perfect metaphor for innovation, development and cultivating new knowledge.

Before the harvest, students are involved in the systematic work of watering, weeding, and protecting the vulnerable plants against sun, heavy rains and harmful insects. This practice develops their creative and innovative capacities. In the Presbyterian School of Kabuga, planting seeds is included in the curriculum and became an integral lesson to help all students to succeed.

Teachers reported a boost in their students’ cognitive and practical capabilities. (Photo courtesy of the Rev. Dr. Ndayizeye Munyansanga Olivier)


Teachers Rachel and Jeanette reported that parents were amazed to see how their kids had grown in helping them in the kitchen, especially in preparing and cooking vegetables. Some students planted seeds at home.

Teacher Emerance said that planting seeds did not help only students, but it also has an amazing effect on teachers as planting, watering, and harvesting stimulate teachers’ spirit of responsibility. For the students it is a very important way of boosting their cognitive and practical capacities. Some students were attracted by learning and are motivated to join class. Teachers were also excited to see that some students improved their language expression since the lesson of planting seeds started.

Gardening promotes good communication, timeliness, friendship and interest in connecting with nature. In addition, it provides vegetables and other nutritious foods that offer a variety of health benefits.

After harvesting their own crops, students share in the meal. (Photo by Teachers reported a boost in their students’ cognitive and practical capabilities. (Photo courtesy of the Rev. Dr. Ndayizeye Munyansanga Olivier)

After harvesting their own crops, the students cook and share joyfully the meal as a result of their own handwork. The child’s most wondrous ability is the capacity to create. If you create something every single day, then your spirit of creativity grows. It influences one’s long-term success in a variety of areas.

The school trains students practically for using their hands. Innovation is putting the idea into practice. For Christianity, it is also where God intervenes to bless the human action. Success in development is the accumulation of small actions and knowledge. With the simple action of planting seeds, a student can change, can influence, and can create, and he or she will never be the same again.

The Rev. Dr. Ndayizeye Munyansanga Olivier is a lecturer in the faculty of theology and religious studies of the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) in Butare, Rwanda. To learn more about the Presbyterian School of Kabuga (PSK) in Rwanda, email the Rev. Paula Cooper, Presbyterian World Mission’s regional liaison for East Central Africa. PIASS and PSK are ministries of the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda (EPR), the PC(USA)’s global partner.

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