Our vision at Lyng Primary has always been to maximise our outdoor grounds to enhance our learning outside the classroom opportunities. A year ago we would never have thought that this project would be partnering with the food bank to help support our local community during a pandemic.
We embarked on this exciting project partnering with Trees for Cities to build our very own Edible Playground back in Autumn of 2019. With the guidance of Grace and Sophie, our designated landscape designers, we set out to provide an exciting platform for all children across the school to get growing in 2020.
Excitement was rising around the new year as, Splash, the building contractors were putting the finishing touches to the raised beds and green house. Shortly before the pandemic set in we had the opportunity to have a whole staff training session with Jules Duncan from Garden Organic, who helped energise our staff and provide support around what we could expect to grow in our beds at different times of the year.
Enthusiastically, all year groups set off in the coming weeks using their gloves, seeds and trowels. It wasn’t too long after that the first signs of growth were happening.
Edible playgrounds is brilliant! I’m so happy that the potatoes started to grow and that they’ll be used by someone for their dinner.
Pupil from Year 2
It was at this point that lockdown struck. Even though most children found themselves not at school as often as they were used to, the beds continued to grow. Mrs Pullen at this point, had the great idea of using our produce to help support the community during the pandemic. In conjunction with the food bank raised at school by staff, we used our lettuces, potatoes and tomatoes to provide families with home grown produce. The families involved were grateful for the contributions.
We are hoping that our Edible Playgrounds venture will contribute towards the school going for the gold badge of Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC Mark). Children are now starting to use their designated beds to grow a variety of produce linked to their curriculum areas. We are also currently planning to use the growing beds for one of our Creative Afternoon activities after half term.
Our kind caretaker is using pallets and hanging baskets to help increase the capacity of our Edible Playground space. Watch this space.
It’s wonderful to see the positive well-being effects of the children and their hard work benefiting the families of the school.
Mrs Parsons (Edible Playgrounds leader)
With thanks to Bulb for funding the Edible Playground at Lyng Primary.