I was very fortunate to have been invited to a special day at Hagley Farm School last week.
from Gardening Australia came along to meet the children and work with them in their school veggie patch. Tino was wonderful with the children engaging them and encouraging them.
One of his big messages was that you don't have to spend a lot of money to garden and how to recycle for the garden. He had the children using toilet rolls as planters for raising bean seeds.
He spoke to the children about soil and manure and used hands on techniques to show them the difference digging manure into the soil makes. There was a lot of giggling every time Tino said the word "poo" but as one clever young lad said "it's just grass really".
There was plenty of digging in and turning over and making the soil fluffy and rich with nutrients.
He also spoke to the children about insect control and pests and the way that the children at Moonah Primary School veggie patch net cabbage moths. The Hagley School kids were right on top of that subject too with their Insect Identification kit.
They also incorporate craft activities into their learning too making felt finger puppets of common garden critters
The children also learn about seed saving and storage as a key role in their veggie patch.
Having a chat with Tino after the children went back to class we found that there are a lot of children who do not know how to recognise basic vegetables let alone what they taste like. The veggie patch gives children an opportunity to taste and try foods, even eating them raw and straight from the vine.
You can also see how Hagley Farm School segue the lessons into science and craft all the while gathering essential life learning skills.
This is one of the raised beds with recycled drink and milk containers used to protect young seedlings. Language and spelling skills combine with creative and practical arts to make the signs for the patch. In the beds beyond are straw bales for mulching and recycled tyres.
Imagine the fun they had making this scarecrow.
These wonderful learning opportunities don't just happen and they are made possible by a community effort. This project is a participation by school, teachers, parents and community businesses bringing together time and resources. It is community that creates wonderful citizens. It is not just up to the school or to the parent. It is up to all of us.
A pumpkin will happily grow in soil and sun but if we ensure good compost and water and discourage weeds we will get the best harvest. A community working together is like a good farmer.
Congratulations Hagley Farm School on the quality of education you provide and to the active parents who drive these extra projects, hats of to you. Thank you to the local communities for supplying materials and resources and thanks to people like Tino using their celebrity profile and passion to encourage and inspire. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every child could have a patch in their school.