Gardening Club #11

There’s something about being caught out in a heavy rain shower that children just seem to relish. Whether it’s the sheer excitement of getting thoroughly drenched or the simple joy of jumping in muddy puddles, there’s a lot to be said for letting the little ones embrace nature.

The deluge certainly didn’t dampen spirits at today’s gardening club, in fact it had quite the opposite effect. Moral was high as the children worked together enthusiastically emptying chicken and vegetable waste into the compost.

The second tractor tyre also needed planting up and the children were so busy they didn’t notice the rain clouds looming.

They cut out the membrane, which they laid on the ground inside the tyres. The membrane will help to suppress weeds.

The children piled rocks on top of the membrane to help with drainage. Again, they got a lot of joy out of lugging the stones around.

The great thing about gardening is that most jobs require a great deal of team work. Every activity the children undertook this afternoon required helping one another, be it moving stones…

…or carrying bags of compost.

They worked together and made super progress.

Even when the rain started to come down, they persevered with great determination.

This photo really sums up the spirit of Oakridge children.

Once the planter was ready they started creating their lettuce ‘pizza wheel’, which they did by dividing the circles up into eighths.

Next, they carefully transplanted lettuce seedlings, which they had grown a few months ago.

Alternating the colours, they planted them between the stones. No watering was needed thanks to the downpour of rain!

It was lovely to see so much planting going on. Once the tractor tyre planter was finished the children sowed pumpkins. Fantastic for them to see the tiny seeds in relation to themselves.

There’s always time for a bit of pond investigation, the children love seeing how much the tadpoles have grown, and often try to catch the odd one or two!

Two sweet corn plants were also put into the ground. They had been donated by a parent.

Sunflowers also went in...

…as did lots of lovely sweet peas.

Finally, as the weather dried up, two of the children from KS2 tried out the theory of seed dispersal that they had been learning about in school this week.

Gardening Club #10

Today’s gardening club involved plenty of weeding and progress with the tractor tyre planters. The recent rain and warm weather has caused everything to sprout and so the children were tasked with clearing the raised beds, a job which they all found really fun!

While half the group enjoyed digging up the weeds and finding worms in the soil, the other half helped prepare the tractor tyres for planting. The children loaded the wheelbarrow with large stones and then helped each other to push it over to the tyres to unload.

The children showed great strength as they helped each other carry bags of compost and soil.

They poured the bags of soil into the planter and used their feet to help bed it all down. They had a great time buying each other!

Meanwhile a third group helped to make the new eco-board for the school foyer. The school is in the process of becoming a registered eco-school and there are seven steps it has to take in order to do this. One of the criteria is to put up an eco-board displaying all the things the eco-committee has been discussing.

Irrigation Project - Class 2

Class 2 have a new project for the Spring and Summer term: to design an irrigation system for the raised beds at the allotment.

It’s always great to see the children up at the allotment outside in the fresh air. There really is no better place to learn than from the world around them. Setting real life problems helps engage the children in the topic being taught. This method of applied, hands on learning increases their enthusiasm, holds their attention and promotes growth and togetherness within the group through the use of teamwork.

Just before the Easter holidays the children spent some time looking at how different countries use different irrigation systems. They then applied that knowledge to the problem of how to get water to the raised beds, a great way to turn a geography topic into a science problem for the children to solve.

Classroom work is brought to life with projects such as this. Not only does it get the children doing some real life problem solving, but it also encourages them to become a little more aware of the environment.

The class 2 teacher likes to involve all the children in topic work by encouraging the exchange of ideas in an open group where everyone respects what their fellow peers and friends are saying.

The children brought their findings from the allotment back into the classroom and turned measurements and recordings into models of their proposed irrigation systems.

Once the winning design has been chosen, the children will help to build it. We can’t wait to see the results!

Potato & Bean Planting - Class 1

Last week class 1 enjoyed planting the first vegetables on the allotment, and what a wonderful sight it was!

Mrs Hayes, the class 1 teacher, is a real legend. She’s an incredible supporter of outdoor learning and is always so enthusiastic. It really rubs off on the children. Here she is helping the children to plant their seed potatoes.

Once the potatoes were in the ground, it was time to plant the beans. Mrs Hayes showed the children how to tie the supporting canes together before they all had a go themselves.

The children applied themselves to the task and did a really good job, not only with their own canes but helping their friends too.

Planting the beans was great fun. It was a joy to see the children enthusiastic about what they were doing and getting their hands dirty. The hope is that, over time, the allotment will become an integral part of the children’s curriculum, providing a valuable learning resource for a multitude of subjects.

Finally, there was just enough time to water the freshly planted area before a well earned play in the adjacent playing field.