It began during Easter, 2015, when a couple of teachers who are passionate about getting the children outdoors put together a plan to get the students involved in more activities not classroom based. First they dug some plant beds and started growing vegetables.
The school managed to get a bit of funding and some help from a local garden centre, Coolings . An area was fenced off to create the garden, they made wooden raised beds and grew strawberries and potatoes.
Miss Shelley Kimber was taken on in November 2016 and now works 2 days a week working with the children in the garden.
New opportunities in the garden
We now have a lunchtime gardening club which runs all year whatever the weather and an after-school club during the summer term.
Many of the children have never experienced the types of opportunities that the garden provides, such as digging, planting and watching the seeds grow into something they can cook eat and enjoy. I am very proud of what the children have achieved in the past 3 years and it’s lovely to hear them asking when the next time will be they are coming out into the garden.
Activities and benefits
This year they have grown every type of vegetable imaginable, including potatoes, carrots, melon and the favourites with the children being peas (which they thought came out of bags in the freezer, not the ground!) They couldn't get enough of them!
The garden is also having an impact on the children's mental and physical health and wellbeing and I am seeing children who find things difficult within the classroom, really blossom out in the garden. Our multi-sensory approach also means the Treehouse Autistic unit, which is part of the school, can get involved too.
We have been given a wormery which makes lovely compost for us and also have 3 compost beds, the whole school have had composting lessons and have really embraced composting. The school kitchen saves their peelings for the garden every week.
Plans for the future
Each class has been given a wheelbarrow , I've asked the teachers to plant it up with the children using a theme of their choice. They are being judged by the head teacher in July. It has been lovely seeing every class enjoying the competition.
Our next aim is to build some work stations for the children to use while planting seeds or potting on plants into bigger pots, we are also hoping to build a brick bar BBQ so the children can get more involved in cooking what they have harvested.
From September we will be linking our outdoor learning into the curriculum in a bit more detail to make sure the children are benefiting in their learning as well as their wellbeing. We are always looking for new ways to inspire the children and give them a love of the outdoors and what enjoyment you can get from growing and eating your own food.
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