Ginny Morris and Nicky Simmons, Principal Project Writers at Morris and Simmons Education help you to generate children's interest in the awe and wonder of watching things grow. All it needs is little bit of creativity and some thoughtful planning.
Provide each class with a raised bed outside or pots for the classroom. Challenge them to grow ingredients rowing food is adaptable and can be successful in both rural and urban settings. Whether you have a window box, indoor pots, or raised beds in an outdoor garden, children can be fascinated by the wonder of growing and enjoy eating something they have nurtured and cared for.
Choose a sunny area in your garden and, using string, mark out a circle and divide it into pizza segments. Plant a different seed in each segment, for example, onions, different types of pepper, oregano, basil and parsley.
You will also need to grow a tomato plant in one of the sections. Once you have a bumper crop of vegetables and herbs create your own scrumptious and healthy pizza to share. This garden is best suited to the summer months and it is also worth investing in good quality soil so that your harvest is successful.
Recycled soup garden
Collect deep plastic containers such as large ice cream tubs and ask the children to decorate them in a garden theme. Pierce small holes in the bottom and put a thin layer of fine gravel for better drainage. Fill the rest of the tub with good-quality soil. Plant a range of vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, onions, garlic and chives. Add to the fun by creating your own recycled watering cans made from plastic bottles – simply pierce the lid with small holes. Let the children water the crops to keep the soil moist. Help children acquire a taste for a variety of vegetables by helping them to design and make their own soups using ‘home-grown’ ingredients.
Green fingered challenge
Provide each class with a raised outside or pots for the classroom. Challenge them to grow ingredients for a recipe of their choice such as soup or fruit salad. Provide competitive milestones, for example first shoot, tallest plant, biggest fruit, largest crop and give prizes to the winners. During the challenge give children particular roles such as head gardener (monitors the work of the gardening team), weeder, waterer, measurer, harvester, reporter/photographer (keeps a diary or blog of the progress).
Celebrate the harvest with a cooking day when children make their recipes and special visitors are invited to taste the different creations. The children could also produce a gardening magazine or video to show their top ten tips for growing your own food.
Top 10 growing tips
- Start small.
- Plan ahead.
- Create a routine and stick to it!
- Ask for donations.
- Reseed for new plants next year.
- Enlist the help of a greenfingered person.
- Be patient.
- Perservere, if things don't work out there is still lots of learning going on.
- Remember you can grow food anywhere.
- Find out what other schools are doing at www.thegrowingschoolsgarden.org.uk.