We spent one day per week at Henry Fawcett Primary School in Kennington for the 2017/18 school year, working with children in both Year 4 classes to create a new Science Garden in the school grounds.
The school has an outdoor space that was once used as an educational garden with a pond, but this area had not been used for a number of years and was ready for a major upgrade, to make it safe for regular use by classes across the school.
Each Monday morning, we worked in the garden to level the ground, create an area for sowing a wildflower meadow, planted a perimeter hedge of native wildlife-friendly plants and built a barrier around the pond to ensure it was safe for children to access the garden. In addition, we built two raised beds of equal size, so that children could do research projects by planting similar plants in each bed, but treat them differently, perhaps by using an organic fertiliser in one, and only water in the other – they could then take measurements of the plants’ growth and record their findings.
Each afternoon, the children would join us in the garden to add plants to the new growing spaces, make bug hotels and bird feeders, take part in pond dipping exercises and take measurements of plants in the experimental beds.
We also held some indoor sessions when the weather was particularly bad, painting bird boxes, seed sowing, and even making wreaths for Christmas using foliage foraged from the garden.