At Growing Outside we believe in the importance of continuity and sustainability.
Our weekly sessions ensure children learning outside begin to appreciate the changes in their environment and all living things through the seasons. It gives us the opportunity to follow through with experiments, to build on learning and of course to foster a love of growing. It builds resilience, patience and reward when they see (sometimes literally) the fruits of their labour!
- We work with small groups of children per session, each session lasting about 45 minutes to hour.
- We try where possible to link with the termly or half termly curriculum topics being studied by each class to make the sessions as relevant to the children as possible and to allow staff to follow up on any outdoor learning. We have lots of resources to engage children in all curriculum subjects whilst learning outside.
- We run these sessions in curriculum time to ensure that outdoor learning is an inclusive activity which all children get to experience. In our experience offering gardening as an extra-curricular club will only attract the same children each week and not benefit the whole school.
- We work throughout the year, teaching children all about the cycle of nature and growing including composting, bug hunts, the environment and food growing.
- Where possible we like to work with the school chef to produce at the very least herbs for school dinners if not fruit and vegetables, and then to compost leftovers to allow children to experience the cycle of growing.
- We try to keep purchases to a minimum and recycle where necessary, involving parents for donations and even volunteering to help occasionally, but also encouraging the school to celebrate its outdoor learning through entering competitions such as local flower shows or teaching children enterprise by selling produce or leading “Garden Tours”.
- Quite often children that have taken part take something home- either produce or something they’ve made, and get a sticker showing parents that they have been “Growing Outside”.
- We encourage schools to work with us and occasionally invite parents in for sessions where they can work with their children in the garden. Parental involvement works brilliantly in an outdoor environment with amazing, long lasting results. We can also suggest projects where your school can forge better relationships with the local community.
We charge £120 per morning or afternoon session which comprises three groups of children. These can be picked on rotation from any classes, although we feel that the most benefit is gained by KS1 and KS2 as Foundation stage is already based largely on outdoor play and learning. This fee also includes a written report each week detailing in a fun and interactive way what has been achieved and which children were taking part. We include photos (taking into account photo permissions) and this report can be used by schools in assembly, online or given to parents. Please see the example below: