Health, happiness and horticulture is the gardening club set up at St Oswald’s ALN Secondary School in Glasgow!
As part of this year's academic session we have been running a Wellbeing Award. This has involved the pupils going to PE for physical health and attending Home Economics to learn about gardening and healthy eating.
The bulk of the gardening at this stage has been setting up and raising our original low beds to ensure:
1) all pupils have access (wheelchair users) and
2) try to minimise the damage to our crop as the current conditions of our ground is very wet.
How has the garden benefited the students?
Both the students and the teachers including myself have worked well together and realise the enormity of the task involved in setting up our community garden.
There have been some difficulties that we have worked around, for example some of the pupils are reluctant to wear gloves, wellington boots due to their learning needs … we accept this and have given them alternative roles such as the photographer to ensure all the children are included.
Gardening and the great outdoors has certainly helped some of our less academically engaged pupils. A number of our pupils have developed some keen interest and simply can't wait until we get back out to the garden.
Exciting projects for this year
- We are currently working on the SASA pea seedbank project and AHDH grow your own potatoes.
- We also plan to run an Enterprise project – possibly jam making. We are going to produce and harvest strawberries.
- Our long-term aim is to run a café open day (monthly) to help our pupils with Autism to engage with the community and help develop their social interaction and employability skills. We hope that our own grown produce can be incorporated into many of the menu items and even depending on the yield sold at various days either at the school or in support of a trader at a farmer's market.
- We are now ready to consider designing our peace garden and would like some expert advice as to what to plant and grow so that we have an array of plants throughout the rest of the year. This is important as our pupils get stressed at any time of the year and we'd love them to find calm within the wonderful oasis of our peace garden.
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