Year 1's Science and Geography based project during the Spring Term - which focussed on Palu Nati island in Indonesia, the island environment, its wild life and pollution problem - provided the context for Year 1's current gardening project. With the support of two green-thumbed parents in the Wandsworth Prep family (Valentina's mummy, Karin, and Jack's mummy, Caroline), we now have a beautiful herb garden and sunflower seedlings.
Karin Altendorfer has been working closely with the children and class teacher, Laura Wright, to add further context to the project and deepen children's understanding of the impact of the environment on life cycles.
Karin told us: 'I thought it might be a good idea to relate the eco-garden directly to the environmental problems the children had learnt about in their project by illustrating the challenges animals face in urban situations. Butterflies, bees and birds suffer from destruction of habitats, lack of food sources and disappearing nesting spaces resulting in decreasing animal populations. The purpose of the project is to show simple, inexpensive and space saving methods to address these problems.
Firstly, the children and I installed a planting bed outside the Year 1 classroom. This comprised of plants, primarily herbs such as lavender, salvia, lemon balm, chives, fennel, oregano and thyme, which serve as appealing food sources for bees and butterflies (in addition to home cooking). Following the installation of the planting bed, a bird feeder and a nesting box has been placed in the tree opposite the classroom in order to attract birds and facilitate breeding.'
Karin's invaluable input in to the project has been of extreme value to the children's learning and understanding. Year 1 have enjoyed getting their hands dirty (apart from when the chicken manure needed to be mixed in) preparing and planting the new plants in to the garden beds. They used the sunflowers as part of their maths lesson, practicing their measuring and data collection skills.
The children can be found at lunchtime tending to, smelling and tasting the herbs, as well as ensuring there is plenty of water and sunlight for both garden beds to help the plants grow. View photos of the new herb garden, here.
Many thanks to Karin and Caroline for all their help with this project.