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Wales: The Comunity Builds A School Garden

  • Subject: [cg] Wales: The Comunity Builds A School Garden
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 07:59:02 EDT

Pupils dig their gardening club Jun 24 2004

Jenny Rees, The Western Mail

PUPILS at Usk Church in Wales Primary School are proving that gardening is no longer just for grown-ups who want to escape to the allotment.

Under the guidance of parent governor, Kay Peacock, their organic vegetable and flower garden was started just under a year ago, and the gardening club, established this term, is oversubscribed by three times the number of children expected to join.

Kay, who works as a dinner lady at the school and oversees the garden project on a voluntary basis, said, "I was talking to some children and asked where carrots came from. One said Tesco's and I nearly fell through the floor.

"I thought, let's do some- thing, applied for Agenda 21 funding and got it."

Being part of the local community is very much the school ethos, and the garden reflects this. The local Rotary Club donated £300 for gardening equipment and inmates at the nearby open prison, HM Prescoed, made the raised beds for the organic vegetables.

"There are seven beds, each named after a continent. It helps the pupils with their geography and it helps them identify the correct vegetables and beds. We have got more than 20 different vegetables growing, including carrots, parsnips, courgettes, cucumbers, potatoes, broad beans, water melon and gourds. There is also a wide range of flowers being cultivated," said Kay.

"The aim is to sell the vegetables to the parents and teachers and the funds will go back into the garden. I also want to let the children taste the vegetable in its raw state and then when it is cooked," added Kay.

The project encourages the pupils as active participants and helps them in the study of national curriculum subjects such as science, nutrition, citizenship, PSHE - personal, social and health education, conservation and sustainability.

Jon Murphy, headteacher at Usk, is very supportive of the garden.

"Education isn't all about books, it is very much about learning skills for life and children are motivated and stimulated when there are opportunities to work outside of the classroom," he said.

"This brings learning to life and gives education a relevance."

Within a couple of weeks, the membership of the new gardening club for Years 3 to 6, had reached 130. Not only do pupils have responsibility for the organic garden, but they are now planting all the flower beds in the school grounds, as well as developing the school woodland walk with tree seeds they collected themselves.

"Their enthusiasm just blew me away. I never expected so many children to join the club. They are so keen we have now entered the Wales in Bloom competition," added Kay.


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