Edible Playgrounds transform school grounds into vibrant outdoor teaching gardens that inspire hands-on learning and get children excited about growing and eating healthy food.
They help improve health and wellbeing, open up access to nature, and provide a fun outdoor learning environment that supports cross-curriculum teaching.
Since 2010 we have seen increasing demand from Head Teachers to create a suitable resource to grow food in schools.
What's in it for my school?
- Edible Playgrounds offer a lively, engaging, multi-sensory way to teach children about growing and eating healthy food.
- The programme establishes a pattern for healthy eating that will stay with pupils throughout their lives. Aside from the physical benefits, healthy diets have been linked to an increase in cognitive function.
- Learning in an outdoor environment combats Nature Deficit Disorder and has been shown to increase mental health by boosting mood, confidence and self-esteem.
- Allowing children to connect with nature develops attentiveness and self-reliance, leading to more sustainable behaviours in the long term.
- Provides teaching support across the National Curriculum.
- Raises standards and improves pupils’ PSED (Ofsted).
- Builds on health initiatives already in place and helps gain Healthy Schools awards.
- Parents appreciate the commitment to teaching pupils in a more holistic manner – this can be a decider when they are settling on a school.
- The children love the Edible Playgrounds! They love to be outdoors, getting stuck in to a different kind of school work.
What does the projects include?
An Edible Playground typically includes:
- Durable, fully treated, oak raised beds
- Outdoor classroom and seating
- Composter Wormery
- Vertical growing space
- 30 x tools for children
- Plants and seeds for raised beds
- Fruit trees
We will work with you to find out what would best suit your school.
Once the build is finished, we don’t leave you high and dry: we have an extensive capacity building programme that teaches the teachers how to maximise the benefits of the Edible Playground and fully incorporate a number of key subjects across the National Curriculum. This includes: a number of training sessions spanning the growing season for up to three members of staff, whole school assemblies, 3 x peer teaching sowing, planting and harvesting workshops with the lead teacher and pupils, and access to a range of support resources including lesson plans and guides for using the Edible Playground across the curriculum.
How much space does it take?
A typical Edible Playground will take up at least 100 square metres – about the size of half a tennis court and can be built on tarmac or soft ground. But we are flexible and will work with you to find a design that best suits the needs of your school. We’ve built sites of all sorts of shapes and sizes and can help you locate your best growing spaces. Drop us a message to find out more!
How much time and staffing resource is needed?
The input from Trees for Cities typically lasts one year. After this, schools will be adequately equipped to continue their growing journey independently.
To ensure success of the Edible Playground, we ask that the Senior Leadership Team are fully committed and are able to nominate at least one member of staff to be the Edible Playground Lead. Schools would typically need to set aside a total of 7-8 ½ days over the course of the year to account for horticulture training, developing planting plans and rolling out the project to other members of staff.
How does Trees for Cities help out?
We will conduct a full survey of the site and design the Edible Playground after extensive consulation with staff, pupils, governors and parents
Your designated Edible Playground Coordinator will support the Senior Management team and teaching staff over the following growing year to ensure the school can use and maintain the Edible Playground as an effective outdoor classroom.
We will also provide a tailored growing plan, training sessions for a member of the teaching staff and support to integrate use of the Edible Playground in teaching plans.
We can offer you support with fundraising, communications and marketing to help you raise funds for the build and maintenance to ensure long term success of the Edible Playground.
How much does it cost?
The cost of the Edible Playground project per school is typically £30,000 (+VAT), depending on the scale of the build, of which schools are asked to contribute up to £10,000 (+ VAT). Trees for Cities commits to the remaining cost for suitable projects through generous support from our partners.
Is funding available?
Schools typically use Pupil and Sports Premium to meet the cost of the project and Trees for Cities can also offer advice and guidance about the various grants and fundraising opportunities to help schools reach their target. Click here to read about funding that's currently available.
of UK children leaving primary school are obese
Since 2014, the National Curriculum requires schools to teach the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Key stage 2 children need to understand where food comes from, seasonality, and where and how a variety of ingredients are grown. Edible Playgrounds help schools achieve this in a fun, dynamic way.
Watch an Edible Playground in action
of teachers told us that Edible Playgrounds had a positive impact on pupils’ attitude towards healthy eating