WEGA has had some involvement from schools and nurseries for a long time, and in recent years we have started doing more to develop these links. This is especially important for those local schools which don’t have sizeable outdoor spaces where children can learn about nature and growing food and flowers.
The national curriculum stresses direct experience as the foundation of learning, and allotments on the doorstep provide an obvious place to find out where food comes from and how people can help themselves to a healthy diet of fruit and vegetables as well as take exercise outdoors.
The visits from local primary schools have involved all the pupils in a year group – between 90 and 120 children – which is a lot to handle at once, so we’ve had groups of 30 at a time, with teachers and teaching assistants. This number can be accommodated in the Northleigh Road pavilion, or the open-air ‘classroom’ outside with tables and benches.
Here’s examples of these links
Washwood Heath Nursery School has been renting two linked plots at St.Margarets Road site, for ‘Forest School’ activities for their children. They also have some raised beds.
Flying High Nursery School started letting a plot in 2019, to provide space for outdoor activities and play for their children.
Ward End Primary School has had visits of whole year groups (Year 3 – 7/8 year olds) to Northleigh Road site. In 2017, we organised activities for them – eg seed planting, identifying and tasting fruit, veg and cooked items, weighing supersized potatoes. The 2018 session focussed on action to reduce waste and rubbish.
In June 2019, another visit was organised by Gill Preston, the Country Trust advisor working with the school. The highlight of this visit was making and throwing seed bombs of wild flowers on one of our vacant plots!