Growing Schools Gardens Resources

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Introduction

“We believe that every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances.” lotc-manifesto.pdf

On these pages you will find materials and links to help you deliver the best possible experience as an accredited GSGs garden. The Growing Schools programme has identified three areas that it regards as accessible to all as a framework for learning www.growingschools.org.uk/AboutUs. They are:

  • Food and farming, including the managed countryside
  • Gardens, gardening and green spaces
  • Wildlife and the natural environment

Schools and other learning organisations engaging with GSGs will be therefore be looking to provide meaningful and relevant experiences in nature for their students within this framework.

Using the Resources

To make your search easier, we have grouped our Resource material into the following categories:

  1. Planting lists, schemes and propagation skills
  2. National curriculum links, lesson plans and investigations
  3. Curriculum development and research
  4. Current schemes and projects
  5. Resources and materials

Updating our Resources: BGEN is keen to expand and develop our GSGs resources, so if you know of any material or links that are not already included here please let us know.

BGEN members

With over 200 members around the UK, BGEN provides a specialist support and training network for professionals working in plant-related education. Its membership includes the UK’s leading botanic gardens and arboreta as well as zoos, public parks and gardens and a wide range of other organisations. BGEN members are in the vanguard of the GSGs accreditation scheme, already offering a range of benchmark learning experiences.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Durham University Botanic Garden

 

1. Planting lists, schemes and propagation skills

BGEN members have unrivalled experience and knowledge when it comes to plant propagation and cultivation, with many also offering world-class expertise in specialist areas. They’re an invaluable source of information on, for example:

  • Regional data on local varieties of fruit and vegetables, as well as locally rare and endangered wild species.
  • The creation, management and educational potential of wildlife habitats such as meadows, woodlands and wetlands.
  • The cultivation and ethno-botanical significance of non-indigenous economic crops such as rice, sugar cane, tea, coffee, yams, olives and citrus fruits.
  • Growing strategies and techniques that may be relevant to school or other communal garden projects

Contact your local BGEN members for further information

Other resources for plant cultivation:

GROWING FOOD

The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners www.nsalg.org.uk is the only full time professional organisation specifically representing the interests of allotment gardeners. Offers a good resource for ideas and advice on growing food, including step-by-step guide on getting started. Membership, open to all schools from pre-school to secondary, gives access to NSALG’s Seed Scheme for discounted seeds; to a quarterly magazine 'Allotment and Leisure Gardener', and information on what to grow.

Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens www.farmgarden.org.uk Education and working with schools is a key part of the work of many city farms and community gardens. The FCFCG's aim is to support the use of farming and gardening as an education tool and to promote the benefits of learning outside the normal classroom environment.

Garden Organic, the national charity for organic growing, provides a wide range of downloadable 'How to' leaflets, covering many aspects of school gardening and includes teachers and student guides. The site also provides valuable information on the links between organic gardening and Key Stages 2 and 3 of the National Curriculum www.gardenorganic.org.uk/schools_organic_network/resources/leaflets.php

The Royal Horticultural Society provides downloadable 'How to Grow' leaflets and a food growing calendar. The RHS Campaign for School Gardening is aimed at encouraging the development and use of school gardens. Teacher resources and CPD material are also available. The four RHS gardens are BGEN members. http://apps.rhs.org.uk/Schoolgardening/teachershome/resources/veggrowingposter/default.aspa

Seed to Plate www.seedtoplate.co.uk offers useful practical tips for plot designs and vegetable growing.

WILDLIFE GARDENING

Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. It provides practical, science-based advice, on safeguarding England’s natural resources and environment. In partnership with farmers and land managers; business and industry; planners and developers; national, regional and local government; interest groups and local communities it works with them to help them improve their local environment. Provides downloadable leaflets relating to wildlife gardening www.naturalengland.co.uk/advice/wildlifegardening/leaflets.aspx

The Wildlife Trusts – provide factsheets on wildlife gardening www.wildlifetrusts.org/index.php?section=gardening:factsheets Although many woodlands, wetlands and meadows have been destroyed over the last 50 years, wildlife gardens act as vital ‘wildlife corridors’ linking up urban green spaces with the wider countryside and nature reserves. There are 47 local Wildlife Trusts across the whole of the UK. With 791,000 members, the trusts are the largest UK voluntary organisation dedicated to conserving the full range of the UK’s habitats and species, whether they be in the countryside, in cities or at sea. 150,000 of our members belong to our junior branch, Wildlife Watch. The trusts manage 2,256 nature reserves covering more than 90,000 hectares. All 47 Wildlife Trusts are members of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT) which also operates a separate Grants Unit administering major funds on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund and the Landfill Communities Fund. For more information on the grants unit visit www.rswt.org.

GENERAL

Learning Through Landscapes is a membership organisation giving comprehensive advice for transforming school grounds www.ltl.org.uk/schools_and_settings/ Since 1990, Learning through Landscapes has been campaigning on behalf of all children for better school grounds. School grounds play a vital role in every child's learning and development. They are unique spaces, providing safe and diverse opportunities for understanding, achievement, healthy exercise and play. Some resources are available free-of-charge from its website, together with an index of resources and publications catalogue.

FACE (Farming & Countryside Education) - www.face-online.org.uk. FACE is an independent charity whose aim is to educate children and young people about food and farming in a sustainable countryside. It has 
over 80 partner membership organisations commited to educational work associated with food, farming and the countryside.FACE aims to meet these educational needs by working with members and partners to promote visits to farms, and to provide easy access to a wide range of high-quality educational resources and activities to complement both school-based studies and outdoor visits.


2. National curriculum links, lesson plans and investigations

FOOD

RHS - Curriculum links including a downloadable pdf: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/Schoolgardening/teachershome/resources/curriculumlinks/default.aspa Gardening and garden-related activities are highly relevant to most National Curriculum subject areas, from history and geography, creative writing and art to maths and science.  may be taught through gardening and related activities, and every element of a school garden can provide material and stimulus for education. at many levels. Lessons plans for a range of subjects in Key Stages 1-3 are available at http://apps.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening/teachershome/resources/lessonplans/default.aspa

Garden Organic - Garden Organic's Learning Zone www.gardenorganic.org.uk/schools_organic_network/nat_curr/index.htm provides Key Stages 2 & 3 Curriculum links to innnovative and environmentally friendly cross-curriculum gardening activites. Underpinning them is GO's belief that involving students in this way gives them ownership of their environment and provides an example of sustainable development in action. Advice on activities that can be carried out while creating a school garden is also available.

Soil Association - www.soilassociation.org/Whatwedo/Education/tabid/267/Default.aspx a founding principle of the Soil Association was to help educate the public about the connections between soil, food, the health of people and the health of the planet. It remains part of the Association's core mission to inform and debate the future of food and farming, in the context of climate change, depleting resources and fluctuating energy prices. A range of resources and programmes supports the Soil Association's education work. Contact the Soil Association for information on: the Food for Life Partnership www.foodforlife.org.uk/; the Organic Farm School; Organic Apprenticeship Scheme; Resources for Schools www.soilassociation.org/Schools/tabid/277/Default.aspx; Visit an Organic Farm www.soilassociation.org/Takeaction/Visitanorganicfarm/tabid/228/Default.aspx

NATURE

RSPBwww.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/teaching/resources/ provides curriculum-linked teaching resources. These are linked to the national curricula/guidelines and are targeted at five age groups: 5 - 7, 7 - 11, 11 - 14, 14 - 16 and 16+. All primary resources are cross referenced with the National Numeracy Strategy for England and the national maths curricula.

Nature Detectives - www.naturedetectives.org.uk/schools/curriculum.htm is a Woodland Trust site with downloadable ideas, games and activities for children, plus suggestions for linking materials to the English KS2 science curriculum.

GENERAL

Science and Plants for Schools (Saps) Investigationswww-saps.plantsci.cam.ac.uk/links_intro.htm is a well resourced website containing many ideas for practical work, outlines for investigations and other supporting material for the curriculum. The resources are designed to be used in teaching and learning about plants with primary or secondary pupils. Effectively a super-index,  the website enables visitors to select curriculum stages and topics and examine the range of materials related to those topics before following the hotlinks to different worksheets, articles and other teaching resources/ideas.

Plants Café - plant science activities linked to food and conservation http://plantscafe.net/en/home.htm A pan-european collaborative project to deliver primary science about plants. UK project partners include the University of London, Institute of Education and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The project was initiated to encourage and help primary age schoolchildren across Europe to use an enquiry based approach to science. Over 40 resource activities are focused on plants – their growth, their importance economically and culturally and the need for their conservation. The activities are set out in easily accessible formats, listing the time and equipment needed and offering step by step teaching sequences. The website also provides images and further background information and guidelines on resources.

Edible Playgrounds - www.edibleplaygrounds.co.uk is a Dorset Cereals initiative based on the US Edible Playgrounds (www.edibleschoolyard.org) project with many useful and practical ideas on teaching children to grow and cook their own food.


3. Curriculum development and research

Learning Outside the Classroom - www.lotc.org.uk promotes the benefits of learning outside the classroom, its position as a key component in the organisation of learning and the contribution it can make to raising achievement. The website site acts as a key hub, collating information, knowledge, expertise, guidance and resources.

Growing Schools - www.growingschools.org.uk is the home page for the education initiative supporting teaching and learning in the outdoor environment. The Growing Schools website has been designed to support teachers in using the "outdoor classroom" as a resource across the curriculum for pupils of all ages. The Growing Schools programme supports the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto lotc-manifesto.pdf, and shares its conviction that every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstance. Growing Schools is highly relevant to the Sustainable Schools agenda www.teachernet.gov.uk/sustainableschools.

Education for Sustainable Development - www.teachernet.gov.uk/sustainableschools is the home page for sustainable schools, incorporating the complementary strands of the government's The Children’s Plan www.dcsf.gov.uk/childrensplan and its UK sustainable development strategy www.defra.gov.uk/sustainable/government/what/index.htm. The Government's goal is for every school to be a sustainable school by 2020 and a National Framework has been established to guide schools towards this target.


4. Current schemes and projects

EcoSchools - www.eco-schools.org.uk/nine-topics/school-grounds.aspx School grounds development is one of the nine key environmental topics within the EcoSchools scheme. These are: Water, Biodiversity, Energy, Global Perspectives, Healthy Living, Litter, School Grounds, Transport and Waste.Eco-Schools is one of five environmental education programmes run internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) www.fee-international.org/en. In addition to Eco-Schools, FEE runs Green Key, Young Reporters for the Environment, Blue Flag and Learning about Forests. There are 46 countries around the world that run the Eco-Schools programme, linking more than 40,000 schools.  Eco-Schools worldwide can network and explore ways of working together on environmental issues. Visit www.eco-schools.net for further information.

Food for Life www.foodforlife.org.uk is a project encouraging the growing and cooking of local, seasonal and organic food in schools. Led by the Soil Association www.soilassociation.org and supported by Garden Organic www.gardenorganic.org.uk, the Food for Life Partnership is a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture. The Food for Life Partnership brings together the practical expertise of the Focus on Food Campaign www.gardenorganic.org.uk, Garden Organic and the Health Education Trust www.healthedtrust.com.

RHS Campaign for School Gardening is a scheme to develop and use a school garden. http//apps.rhs.org.uk/Schoolgardening/teachershome/aboutthescheme/default.aspa. Teaching resources and a programme of CPDs are available, together with the opportunity of free school visits to one of the four RHS gardens?

Love School Grounds www.loveschoolgrounds.org.uk is a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of teaching and learning in school grounds. The website contains information on: Learning and discovery, Physical health, Social confidence, Emotional well-being, Community engagement, Nature and sustainability.

BBC Breathing Places www.bbc.co.uk/breathingplaces/schools was was set up in 2005 to encourage people to help nature on their doorstep. Over 478,300 people, 1527,140 school children have been involved in 1381 events, planting 71,279 trees and flowers, creating 6780 wildlife homes and transforming 1,409,235 square metres of land. Breathing Places has around 183 partners, including most of the UK's leading nature organisations. The website contains many project suggestions, case studies and an event finder.

RSPB - Wildlife Action Awards for Schools www.rspb.org.uk/youth/learn/waa/index.asp These awards are easy to take part in, and each pupil, class or year group receive awards for the actions they do. The DCSF provides guidelines showing how a range of award schemes and programmes contribute to the National Framework for Sustainable Schools www.sustainablelearning.info/

WWF - One Planet Schools www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/working_with_schools/about_one_planet_schools/ is a scheme that builds upon the Sustainable Schools Initiative. Resources include Learn, WWF’s free poster resource that includes a poster image and quote, key questions, stimulus activity ideas and background information.

Woodland Trust Green Tree Schools Award Scheme www.naturedetectives.org.uk/schools/award.htm The Woodland Trust www.woodlandtrust.org.uk is the UK's leading woodland conservation charity. Over 2000 schools have registered with the award scheme.


5. Resources and materials

WWF – its working with schools web page is the gateway to a variety of WWF resources and projects.  www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/working_with_schools

Buglife - www.buglife.org.uk is the first organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates. Buglife's aim to halt the extinction of invertebrate species and to achieve sustainable populations of invertebrates.

Field Studies Council www.field-studies-council.org is an environmental education charity committed to helping people understand and be inspired by the natural world. Thousands of students every year experience the FSC through fieldwork and cross-curricular courses at its network of 17 centres across the UK. The FSC’s Outdoor Classroom provides fieldwork opportunities for all ages in some of the most spectacular sites and habitats in the UK. An extensive range of resources is available for teachers and students www.field-studies-council.org/publications/index.aspx.

Woodland Trust Surveys www.naturescalendar.org.uk provides opportunities for students to record and view seasonal events that show the impact of climate change on wildlife (phenology). Opportunities to participate in BBC's Springwatch and AutumnWatch surveys are also provided. 

Nature in a Changing Climate: Phenology Uncovered www.naturescalendar.org.uk/secondary is an innovative new title for teachers of 11 - 16 year olds, offering an imaginative cross-curricular approach, full of engaging activities for both classroom, outdoor and homework use.

BBC Gardening with Children www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children developed in colaboration with the RHS the site contains gardening facts and activities aimed at 4-7 year olds.

Soil Association www.soilassociation.org/Schools/tabid/277/Default.aspx The Soil Association has a small collection of educational resources for primary school teachers to download and use in the classroom.
 These resources range from short films with related activities to more structured curriculum lessons. Resources for seconday schools include online farm trails, the One Planet Food film and crop and livestock factsheets. They are designed to provide teachers and students with information on the key elements of both organic and intensive farming.

Forestry Commission www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-5pgbr7 provides extensive education and teaching resources. See also www.forestry.gov.uk/website/searchall.nsf