School year 2015/2016
Renovation of Alderbrook school roof
During the 15/16 academic year we converted the formerly disused roof-space on top of Alderbrook's Victorian building into an inspiring creative garden area and art studio. We used mostly reclaimed and reused materials as well as many hours of unpaid volunteer time. This project was led by a team of 4 plus 20 volunteers - a hard-working group of parents, teachers, pupils and members of the wider community who share the ambition that this valuable and unique addition to the school’s teaching environment will help to connect pupils living in a very urban area to the ‘great outdoors’, to 'greener' living and will encourage a real sense of creative freedom.
School year 2016/2017
Outdoor learning development
The aim for the 16/17 academic year was to provide the school community with more structured ‘hands-on’ and practical opportunities to learn about horticulture, growing their own food, creating and studying new wildlife habitats, as well as an indoor but very 'free' space to be artistically creative.
We received extremely positive feedback from teachers and children about the many benefits of this type of activity, including learning about nature as well as the very hands-on experience of handling compost, seeds and seedings. The children learned about weeding and harvesting crops of carrots, radishes and lettuces. We also grew strawberries, potatoes, broad beans, peas, onions and raspberries! All our crops are organic.
Famous Five-inspired KS2 children!
One Way or Another
The Famous Five are a curious team with unknown adventures awaiting them.
In the stories, they come across light, joy and victory. However, that’s not all. When they explore further, they discover spooky mysteries, hidden passageways and creepy caves.
The Famous Five discover that behind the good and light scary mysteries lurk in the shadows. As gardeners, we see that behind beautiful plants creepy crawlies scuttle around.
Which side do you choose? Try and find the mysterious behind the obvious in our plot…
A Famous Five inspired garden project with ten KS2 students. We worked on the theme, design and planting choices throughout the first half of Summer term. The team then went on an adventure to Wisley Garden to assemble and plant our plot together with 36 other schools. We were given a Silver Award for our 'One Way Or Another' themed garden.
School year 2017/2018
Introducing outdoor learning to more schools
2018 winners - Christ Church CofE
The 17/18 school year was focused on the promotion of outdoor learning in different local schools. Our aim was to offer activities developed at Alderbrook to other schools and we worked at Honeywell, Rutherford House and Our Lady of Victories, amongst others. We have offered new activities as well – including cooking and learning about nutrition.
We are engaging with Wandsworth and Lambeth Councils to get the right level of support. We worked successfully with two schools (Rutherford House and Alderbrook) to apply for grants to develop outdoor spaces.
To help make our objectives a reality for all Wandsworth primary children (and, over time, all London children), we hosted a conference for primary leaders on 12th June 2018 at Swaffield School. Over 50 school representatives and other education specialists joined us to hear leading experts from all over the UK tell us about the benefits of outdoor learning for children, especially the disadvantaged, and what we can achieve by working together.
To give schools an idea of what we can offer, we have also been running free spring planting workshops for all local primary schools.
outdoor learning conference
Do you need a sensory garden for children with SEND?
Workshops with Y3 at Honeywell Junior School
We ran a week of morning workshops with Y3 pupils at Honeywell Junior School. These were focused on the use of plants in our lives. We also found out about types of beans. Every child had a chance to plant some spring plants to make the raised beds in the playground more colourful.
School year 2018/2019
new projects, new partners, more challenges!
Watering plants with Great Grandad
We worked locally with Paradise Co-operative, TTT, Natural Thinkers, LEEF and Share Nursery at Springfield Hospital and nationally with RHS, Groundwork, the Linnean Institute, the National Trust and Kew Gardens co-delivering various programmes such as the Orchard Project and Pollinator Paths.
In 18/19 we built on the foundations laid the previous year (particularly in our Outdoor Learning Conference) by organising half-termly gardening workshops for local school garden leaders.
Continuing our classes at Rutherford House School (funded by the Mayor of London) and Our Lady of Victories;
Developing an outdoor learning programme at Floreat Wandsworth;
Delivering gardening workshops in new schools (Swaffield, St Gabriels Primary School in Pimlico and St Gabriels College in Camberwell) and local communities through new concepts:
“3G Gardening” which will engage 3 generations using old experience and youthful energy to re-connect people of all ages with nature
“Seasonal changes and mathematics” – science and maths workshops based on seasonal patterns
Forest School training and pilot programme
Over the whole academic year 18/19 Beata attended a Forest School Leader course run by Forest School Initiative. After several weeks of hands-on activities as well as a lot of coursework she graduated in July 2019. We delivered a 10 week pilot programme with Y2 students at Floreat School. Children enjoyed all the outdoor lessons and we are in discussion with the school about incorporating the Forest School programme into the school routine.
Garden Re-development and workshops at Our Lady of Victories Primary School
OLV is a small primary school with a little garden space along the edge of the playground. We worked with the school to maximise the use of these spaces to enhance outdoor learning opportunities and provide space to play at lunchtime and in other break times. We created a Secret Garden around the existing mature copper beach tree with logs for sitting and chip bark to walk around.
We also ran a number of gardening classes with children and teachers. We planted tomatoes, lettuces and potatoes! It has been a great first season of growing with very excited children and engaged and interested teachers!
Teacher Training classes at Battersea Arts Centre
Over the year we also organised three teacher training sessions. These were focused on three distinct aspects of outdoor learning:
Loose Parts Play
Working with children with SEND in the garden environment.
We invited 3 specialists (David Beldon, Chris Young, Becky Pinniger) in these subjects to lead each session. All the participants had an opportunity to 'learn through play'!!
Foodival with Transition Town Tooting
This was the second year we participated in the Tooting Foodival. It is such a great way to work with Transition Town Tooting and promote heathy life styles in Wandsworth communities and schools.
This year we planted house plants in reused Heinz Beans tins. We also added a little gardener to every mini planter. See if you can spot it in the picture!