St James Hatcham are proud to announce that we now have an Edible Playground!
The Edible Playground was built by the charity Edible Playgrounds, which is part of Trees for Cities which transform areas in school grounds into educational, natural outdoor spaces that excite and teach children about growing and eating healthy food. By instilling healthy eating habits at an early age, Edible Playgrounds help tackle obesity, food poverty and lack of access to nature head on, and provide a platform for fun and engaging lessons that support the school curriculum.
[33% of children in the final year of primary school are overweight or obese (Public Health England, 2016)]
Our Edible Playground has been designed specifically with our school in mind, appreciating that we are based in an especially built up and urban area, it provides our students with direct access to the benefits of nature, right outside their classroom doors. It provides an outdoor classroom area, raised beds for growing fruits, vegetables and herbs, a green house to store our gardening tools and an exciting wormery to provide fertiliser for our crops!
Staff at St James recognise that students need a variety of interpersonal skills and resilience to cope with the demands of our changing world. Our children have thoroughly enjoyed participating in our Global Citizenship Curriculum this year that recognises the urgency with which we must strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and through growing their own food, it is our hope that this will provide children with accessibility to be sustainable and understand where food comes from.
The Edible Playground seeks to address key areas of children’s development and health. It will provide children with opportunities to learn about nutrition, physical activity, knowledge of how to grow their own food both in and outside school which, it is our hope, will reduce food poverty in our community. Teachers have access to a variety of lesson plans that instil the importance of healthy eating, growing food, connecting to nature etc. and these teaching resources span the entire curriculum.
Are you a budding gardener? Wondering where to start? You don’t need a garden to begin growing your own food! Here is a very inspiring speech from ‘Gangsta Gardener’ Ron Finley, South Central LA. He is famously known for this TED Talk, and for successfully campaigning for the city of Los Angeles to change the law, making it no longer illegal to plant edible gardens on sidewalks. His gardens have provided education and access to healthy food for many families and children experiencing food poverty. Ron explains “if kids grow kale, kids eat kale; if they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.”
Miss Douglas’ Top Instagram Accounts to Follow for Gardening Inspiration
Thank you to the following staff and helpers from our community that helped make the Edible Playground a reality. It took two tough and tiring weekends to clear this garden space in preparation for the Trees for Cities team’s arrival. A great effort by all involved!
‘Uncle Martin’ – Ifigen’s family gardener
Our governor Matt Tingle,
Our site manager Mr Sanchez,
Reception teacher Miss Douglas and her mum, Julie
Deputy headteacher Ms Omoboni
December 2019 – Trees for Cities arrive for our four week Edible Playground building project. Thank you to the Trees for Cities Team that transformed this previously overgrown space into the incredible edible garden we all now get to love and use everyday!
Gardening with children
What each year group is growing this Autumn Term 2020:
Reception: Spring onions
Year 1: Pea shoots
Year 2: Broad beans
Year 3: Salad leaves (lettuce)
Year 4: Rocket
Year 5: Radish
Year 6: Salad leaves (oriental mix)
How-to: See below simple instructions for growing herbs. Basil, chives, coriander and dill are super easy, fun, aromatic and delicious to grow pretty much anywhere! Whether you have a garden, balcony or windowsill these plants can be grown and harvested to make dried herbs, marinades, sauces, oils, dressings, garnish, salad, you name it! They are deliciously fragrant and a natural air freshener too. (Click to enlarge the pictures)
Oak class (T3) spent time outdoors clearing their raised vegetable beds in their first week back after October half-term!
This week classes are beginning to sow their winter vegetable seeds. The greenhouse is looking delightfully green despite the approaching winter. Growing vegetables and gardening isn’t just for spring! This is our first autumn/winter growing season so it will be exciting to see what we can grow successfully and what adaptations we might need to make next year. Thank you to Gingko class (T2) for kickstarting this sowing season with their broad bean seeds.