Neat and two veg

6th July 2007 at 01:00
Creating a school garden is a great way of getting parents and the community involved. It generates lots of goodwill. A local building firm offered to construct our vegetable plot and the garden centre down the road sells us tools at cost price. We also hold family gardening days though the parents' association recently bought a rotivator so they won't have to do so much digging.

There is a gardening club every lunchtime, with different year groups on each day of the week. We also link gardening to the curriculum, and children make seed packets in art lessons and design bird scarers for their design and technology project.

We're very lucky to have a copse at one end of the school grounds. We've built seating areas using fallen trees so we can take whole classes down there. It's a magical place to have speaking and listening lessons.

Having a school garden helps pupils learn about sustainability. We have a composter and a wormery, which produces liquid manure. The boys think that's great. But most importantly, gardening teaches children responsibility. When they plant something in the vegetable patch, they know they have to work hard and care for it. Then they can harvest something really nice.

At this time of year, children are taking home lots of fresh produce and that helps promote healthy eating. In the autumn, I'll be teaching them how to make pumpkin scones because we are going to have an awful lot of pumpkin.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) training days are an inspiration. You learn what other schools are doing, and get to see what's possible.

We have since kept close links with the RHS and helped raise money for its new glasshouse at Wisley. Some of our pupils were at the opening last week, presenting a posy to the Queen. Gardening is part of school life now and I'm sure lots of our pupils will grow up to be mad-keen gardeners

Kay Scott is the environment co-ordinator at Eastwick Infant School in Surrey

The details

The Royal Horticultural Society holds a number of differently themed days for teachers, at venues around the country. Cost pound;100, or pound;80 for RHS members.

www.rhs.org.ukLearning educationcpd.asp

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