This learning outdoors project will bring people together through a range of activities; planting, growing, cooking, puppet shows and more. We will build a bespoke garden designed by pupils and established Chelsea Gold Medal designer Cleve West. The space will need support from volunteers to clear and prepare the ground for the garden to be started. It will require support for digging and planting once the garden is constructed. Although the garden will be started in September it will take two years to complete and a lot of work so it can be used as intended. Our aim is to forge stronger links with our local community who will be invited to volunteer their help. We will build this into a group who can come together regularly and work in the garden and benefit from the space. Training for all involved will be an important part of the project as we people have the opportunity to become more skilled in a range of areas e.g. healthy eating and cooking, planting and garden maintenance.
What we'll deliver:
- Build a bespoke learning garden for our community
- Create a puppet shed theatre and seating
- Plant fruit trees and build raised beds
- Create a compost and wildlife area
- Fit a raised pond
- Build a separate outdoor learning building & greenhouse
Why it's a great idea:
The garden will create a space for children and adults to come together on a regular basis to work outdoors. This will develop relationships, build skills and give those taking part a sense of well being. In a built-up urban environment this contact with nature is much needed.
The building will make sure that our gardens can be used when the school is closed extending the opportunities for volunteers and families to work on a variety of areas. These will include: learning to grow from seed, creating good compost, nurturing and tending a garden, pruning fruit trees, cooking and sharing experiences. There will also be the opportunity to create bespoke training opportunities for the volunteers depending on their needs.
This project will act as a vehicle for us to tackle issues such as mental health, obesity, healthy living, sustainable food growing. It will lead to community cohesion in an area that is deprived and that is very built up.
Steps to get it done:
- 1. Clear the garden area
- 2. Level the ground
- 3. Build a lasting and sustainable infrastructure
- 4. Create the composting area and build the greenhouse
- 5. Build the garden beds and pond
- 6. Build a puppet theatre with log seating
- 7. Create a wild flower and minibeast area
- 8. Create additional communal seating and group area
Our outdoor spaces are vital to continue our work learning outside the classroom. We began in 2009 and now have a proven track record with The Learning Outside the Classroom GOLD accreditation as well as being an RHS Level 5 school.
This way of working grew out of the needs of our pupils and parents. We have a growing number of pupils with speech and language needs as well as autism and ADHD. The outdoor learning gives our pupils and their families a way to learn that they would not otherwise have.
We involve volunteers, families and our local community whenever we can. Some have volunteered through ‘Project Dirt’ and others have been recruited because they have heard about the garden. Sometimes we involve charities like ‘Good Gym’ to get bigger jobs done that our pupils can’t do. Most of the time our pupils teach the volunteers.