Gardening Schools is a pioneer program run by Sarah Murch in 16 local schools over the last gardening year.
The program was organised by Extended Services through Retford Secondary Schools. The aim of the program was to encourage children to eat healthily and exercise, through gardening at school.
With a range of schools on board from secondary, primary, Sure Start Centres and a Hospital school, the program has been highly successful and has kick started many schools into creating fantastic food growing gardens and Outdoor Learning Areas.
Sarah worked closely with the Staff, Heads, Groundstaff and Children- starting with Teacher Training days here at Ellicar Gardens in planning and setting up school gardens and food growing, maintaining and gardening with children. Schools were also encouraged to look at Learning Outside the Classroom and were given many ideas for teaching the curriculum outdoors.
Following on with individual school site visits, planting workshops and regular garden visits to mentor and offer support – these little gardens really flourished!
All the schools involved grew a fantastic range of vegetables and fruit- many selling the produce back to their own kitchens for school dinners, some selling the excess at playground produce fairs. In many schools children had complete ownership of their gardens; gardening clubs started up and school communities have begun to take an active interest in the projects.
Every school involved is currently building, extending, planning or fundraising towards new Wildlife Gardens, Sensory Gardens, Outdoor Learning Environments and Food Growing Gardens-and the essential Outdoor Tap! Great result!
The program ended in September 2014 with a Gardening Celebration here at Ellicar Gardens- with 150 children taking part in fantastic gardening and environmental workshops around the gardens here- Willow Weaving, Composting, Cooking, Flour Grinding, Outdoor Percussion Instruments, Bee Keeping, Wildlife Bio-Blitz, Bird Watching, Nest Box Building. The Scarecrow Show and school produce tables were spectacular! A great day to celebrate the amazing gardening work in these schools- we didn’t even notice the rain!
Gardening Schools has won the Green Guardian Award for Education by Notts Wildlife Trust.
Thank you to the following organisations for generously supporting Gardening Schools Program.
Veolia Trust, Change for Life, FACE, Notts Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Notts County Council Schools Waste Action Composting program, Bassetlaw District Council Parks and Open Spaces, School of Artisan Food, Tuxford Windmill, Retford Lions, edf energy Discovery Centre, Accoustic Arts, Rutland Willows, John Taylor Bee Keeper, and local Councillors.