All Springbank children are able to participate in gardening or simply use the garden for recreational games such as hide and seek, making sand sculptures, etc.
Our Eco Co-ordinator, Mrs Fletcher, is in the garden on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday breaks for a walk around chatting to the children and answering questions about gardening or wildlife. Often produce in season is plated up and offered to the children to try at break times. In the past the produce has included tomatoes, cucumbers, physalis, potatoes, New Zealand yams, grapes, cucamelon, herbs, apples and berries. This is a great way to get the children to try new foods and learn about where the fruit and vegetables come from. Under supervision, the children are often allowed to “graze”, picking and eating such fruit as raspberries as they go.
We frequently enter competitions such as the Great Yorkshire Show and the Harrogate Flower Show and we have been really successful. Wednesday lunchtimes are dedicated to any garden competitions we have entered. Any interested child is encouraged to join in. Children are involved with growing all the produce but also need to research the fruit and vegetables beforehand learning about such things as nutrition, sustainability, seasonality, biodiversity, global awareness and fair trade as well as the science behind growing things. A diary is kept as the competition progresses and the children’s knowledge of the plants is tested at the competition itself.
Our entry into the Great Yorkshire Show in July 2014 won the 'Best decorated box' and was highly commended despite not winning overall. The children created their veg box based on the Tour de France and called it 'Ooh la la meets Eh by gum!'
The children pictured here grew the salad leaves and made the salad dressing from our herbs to go with it. It was part of a competition they entered at The Harrogate Flower Show in April 2013.
This was the winning entry at The Harrogate Flower Show showing the salad which the children had grown along with the salad dressings and herb vinegars they had made. We were awarded the Premier Gold Award; a super achievement by all the children involved; well deserved after all their hard work!
Learning how, why and where our food plants grow is a vital part of children’s knowledge in understanding how they can live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and being involved in specific projects encourages the children to learn and enquire about their food and try different fruits and vegetables which they might not otherwise have the opportunity to do.
Here the children are showing their “portable insect house” which they made in a project were we studied the importance of biodiversity and in particular the importance of encouraging pollinating insects into our growing areas.
The garden provides children with valuable learning experiences. For example Year 4 work in the garden during their learning challenge 'Can a camel live in the North Pole?' which is all about habitats and what makes an animal adapt to the place where it lives. They spend time making use of the outdoor learning environment, looking in the pond and under rocks to find lots of exciting things, including newts! They also look in the compost bins and use the pouters - a real hit with all of the children. Year 3 learn in the garden during their science work on plants and frequently experiment with growing different varieties of plants using the greenhouse as well as outdoors.
On Monday and Thursday lunchtimes Mrs Fletcher runs an informal garden club where children just come along and join in any jobs which need doing including such jobs as weeding, raking leaves to make leaf mould and digging over. The jobs at lunchtime tend to be quite physical so the children get plenty of exercise!
There is an after school garden club which runs on Wednesdays. Each year group take a turn to attend during the school year. The club has a small amount of children in it so that they are able to gain more skills and knowledge and do more detailed work. Activities change according to the seasons; however we aim to grow as many varieties of fruit and vegetables as possible. One aim this year will be to grow as much produce as possible for the Year 6 children to include in their Christmas dinners which they prepare themselves.
Some boys get to work on the weeding.
Carefully weeding between the beetroot and onions.
The girls get on with planting some sweetcorn and beans.
Others enjoy planting pumpkin seeds in the greenhouse.