At Ermine we strongly believe in the positive effects of gardening in school and there has been a very successful after school gardening club which has been running for a few years now, with Key Stage 2 children. The reception, nursery staff and children are now busy creating an area to grow their own fruit and vegetables throughout the year.
Old tyres have been used to create raised planting areas which can then be reached easily by all our pupils.Tesco have kindly donated compost and seeds to help get this project started and we look forward to inviting Tesco back in the spring to see how we are getting on.
The most obvious reason is to observe at first hand the scientific growing cycle of plants in a natural setting over a period of months. Children are naturally fascinated to watch how plants develop and to compare how the different plants develop – underground, on the surface or higher up.
Our past teaching experiences have proved to us, time and time again, that children are much more prepared to try tasting food which they have been involved with growing and harvesting. By being involved the growing cycle, the children are seeing how the plants form, talking about which parts of the plants are edible and which parts are the seeds to continue the cycle. Being outdoors, getting dirty and working together creates happier and more engaged children.
There is so much research which shows the many other benefits of the children being involved in gardening from a young age http://www.growingschools.org.uk/Resources/Downloads/RHS-Gardening-in-Schools.pdf and the Ermine Early Years staff wanted the children to gain an understanding of where their food comes from.
By growing fruit and vegetables over the year, the pupils will become involved in the nurturing of the crops over time, before they are finally able to taste any produce they are able to successfully grow.
Resilience, teamwork, responsibility and patience are required to look after the plants. The children will learn that there will be set backs – not everything is going to grow! However, this is also an opportunity for the pupils to learn from their mistakes next time.
A huge sense of pride and achievement, alongside the excitement and miracle of watching seeds become crops, becomes a powerful feeling.
Happy growing, everyone!!