Community In Bloom (CIB) is a program that was initiated on 2005 by NParks to encourage gardening in Singapore. The CIB program has been adopted by some schools like Kuo Chuan Presbytherian Secondary School (KCPSS).
Importance and relevance of this green practice
Most Singaporeans would associate lessons with classrooms. However, with gardens like above, teachers can also use them for classes. For instance, students who study science or plant biology may benefit from such ‘live classroom’ where they can have firsthand experience with the plants. With the real life examples and interactive experience, students can benefit more educationally compared to passive learning of plants on textbooks.
The CIB program operates on a collective level whereby students and teachers have to work hard together to build the garden. This serves to enhance the students and teachers’ collective identity, thus promoting a sense of shared responsibility towards the gardening effort. Since the CIB program is a collective effort, the gardening activity may also help bond and enhance the camaraderie between the students. This may result in students having a positive attitude towards gardening. Hopefully, the students would also be able to transfer this positive attitude back home, influencing their family members as well.
The gardening practices have several other benefits to the school also. First, it beautifies the school setting. Second, the garden could be a place for “escape” and relaxation for stressed up students and teachers. Gardens are said to lead to positive emotions like being calmer and less distracted. Third, the garden fulfils students’ sense of ownership towards the garden where they can display their own effort, skill and preference. Four, students’ availability heuristic of conservation issues are enhanced due to their personal experience in gardening. Last, research has shown that greenery has some cognitive benefits like higher sensory input, concentration and problem-solving skills (Chawla , 2002).
According to Clayton (2003), identity is also important for shaping one’s behaviour. Identity is dependent on constitutive values i.e. experience or place that shapes a person. Thus to shape one’s gardening identity, it is important to have a positive experience since young. Perhaps, NParks can collaborate with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to implement the CIB program in all primary schools, when one’s attitude is more susceptible to green practices.