Today was a triumph of many months of hard work from all those who have been involved in getting the allotment out of the ground: the whole school visited for the very fist time. Full credit to the teachers for not only managing to coordinate and occupy all 37 children but for being so bold as to take them out of the classroom and into the fresh air for some truly enriched learning. Change is afoot and there is hope among many that it won’t be too long before this sort of thing becomes a mandatory part of the curriculum.
After a busy morning of SATS, a visit to the allotment was just what was needed. The children walked up in the morning and, bar a quick trip back to school for lunch, spent the rest of the day submersed in various science, maths and DT activities. Topics included life cycles, water harvesting, recycling, habitats and plants. The children were broken down into small groups and using a carousel system, everybody had a go at everything.
The pond adds a really important dimension to the school allotment. It teaches about different habitats, eco systems and life cycles.
Needless to say, pond dipping proved the most popular activity from today, but it’s so easy to understand why. Despite being a village school nestled in the gorgeous Cotswold countryside, not all the children have the chance to enjoy first hand encounters with creatures like the humble tadpole. What a priviledge that their school can give them this opportunity.
Over the last few months, Print Waste Recycling in Cheltenham have kindly been collecting and storing 650 plastic bottles for the school’s plastic bottle greenhouse project. Print Waste dropped all the bottles off at school a few weeks ago and the children have started to remove the caps and labels ready for erection.
Today, the class 2 teacher wanted the children to work out how many bottles would be needed and how they would be fitted to the greenhouse frame.
The activity covered a whole range of topics, including maths, science and design technology.
Another project that class 2 have been involved with is creating a rainwater harvesting system. They have been studying the subject in geography and have looked at irrigation systems in other countries, like Africa. The class 2 teacher asked them to come up with their own designs. The best one would be built on the allotment, providing water to the six raised beds. Today, the children were tasked with the challenge of how to build the system, resulting, again, in much maths and design technology.
Back in January the school was awarded a £500 grant from Learning Through Landscapes. Only 100 schools are selected from over thousands of applications, so everyone felt very proud. As part of the grant, the children were able to select a variety of items, one of those was an insect observatory, and today, the children helped to set it up and site it.
Some of the class 2 children got stuck in and worked really well together, helping the younger ones in class 1 to site the observatory. The children decided it should go in the wildflower meadow.
Another activity the children were tasked with was weeding, which they always love to do!! There is much digging and tooting around in the soil and the chance of finding a whopping worm generates much enthusiasm! Lovely to see.
It’s been six months since the school first acquired the allotment and how satisfying to see all the children up there, together, in the sunshine enjoying all the wonderful benefits that outdoor learning brings.