With our organic garden at Sholing Junior School we aim to create a facility that supports the curriculum, encourages collaboration and teamwork and boosts citizenship by creating a space that is aesthetically pleasing and encourages responsibility and nurturing. The scope for community links between young and old is huge. Our infants are also keen to get involved and as they include several children with visual impairments we are planning a sensory element, assisted by a grant from the local education authority. We have three children on the autistic spectrum for whom gardening is a great vehicle for socialising, teamwork and caring.
The garden has opened up a new space for teaching and learning. Our art teacher has held willow sculpture classes there, and our gardening club meets every week. The Learning Farm, which is supported by Hampshire Fare (www.hampshirefare.co.uk)organised a food tasting day for us, and also brought along the crested appleyard duckling in the picture.
The Learning Farm visits to show children wildlife, advise on environmental projects and sell organic produce from our garden in an after-school market. The organisation brings the countryside to urban children, making links with PSHE, citizenship, science, art, design and technology, and ICT.
We are updating our schemes of work to incorporate the garden as an outdoor classroom.
Chris Nourse, headteacher, Sholing Junior School, Southampton