After a month where our Development Education Team has been building its first keyhole gardens in London, Manager Claire Pickman looks back at the success and impact of days working with students in Brixton and Tower Hamlets. 

The Development Education Team have been busy extending our African Garden Day project in London, delivering garden days in Tower Hamlets and Brixton with amazing success. We work with our partner HEC Global Learning Centre the project has been delivered to Marner Primary, The Globe Primary and The Brixton Learning Collaborative, Shine on Saturday school.

 

 

One of the key criteria we have in working with any school is to make sure that each school has a high proportion of students receiving free school meals, this allows us to make sure that the day is fully funded.

Working in inner-city settings brings with it its own challenges, including the schools’ limited outdoor space and importantly the students’ inexperience with gardening. However, in spite of this the days have been brilliantly received by both students and teachers.

We also witnessed some inital resistance to getting involved among the students. Some didn't want to touch the soil, and there was concern from both students and their parents about the students getting muddy. But together we overcame this throughout the day and it was wonderful to see the students were even asking to take their gloves off and get that hands dirty in the soil.

 

 

We also held a bug hunt, and that proved a huge success with the students displaying genuine enthusiasm for searching and finding mini-beasts within their everyday, school environment. Other activities on the day include the making of the compost basket, soil mixing, making bird scarers, planting seeds and general maintenance of the school garden area.

We always try to assess how the children feel about gardening at the beginning and the end of the day. It helps us to get a feel for how successful it has been, and lets us plan our future events more effectively. The results from Marner Primary are typical of what we have seen so far:

Who do you feel about gardening?

Results at the start of the day:

  • Don’t know- 10%
  • Happy- 13%
  • Proud- 27%
  • Excited- 47%
  • Worried- 3%

Results at the end of the day:

  • 93% Proud
  • 27% Happy

We are now looking to offer this project to more schools within the areas of Tower Hamlets and Brixton. If you would like to find out more information about the project or know of a school that might be interested, please contact Development Education Manager, Claire Pickman at [email protected] or on 01225 971948