Our Gardening Project
The Friends of AHS are currently working hard to restore “Shaun’s Garden” and get the children gardening again.
The garden was created in 2010 in memory of Shaun Miller, parent and Chair of the PTA. Over the years the children have used it to grow a wide variety of flowers, fruit and vegetables, and most importantly, learn more about our environment, our food and the ecology of the garden.
Unfortunately over the last couple of years the garden has become in desperate need of repair and was closed to the children. Many of the sleepers used to create the individual beds were rotten, exposing nails and sharp edges.
During the half term of February 2018 the rotten sleepers were replaced and others repaired. This work meant the garden was a safe area again, though still not in a usable state for the children.
Shaun's Garden with the rotten sleepers replaced.
With the beds repaired it quickly became obvious that the soil level was too low. The Friends purchased six big bags of top soil in early April 2018 which then had to be transported from the staff carpark, across the main playground to Shaun's Garden. Fortunately we found a team of Dads to help.
Top soil ready for Shaun's Garden.
Preparing the Beds
With the top soil delivered, the next task was to clear the beds of weeds, tidy the garden, then start filling the beds with the new top soil.
Before the Clearing
After the Clearing
Filling the beds with soil
During April 2018 a small group of mums worked hard to remove many more weeds and fill the children's beds with top soil. This meant many trips across the playground with wheelbarrows full of soil. All six class beds are now full and are already being used by the children. Four sections of the C-shaped bed were also filled, which will eventually become a sensory garden.
Weeds removed and beds full
The Friends have purchased two big water butts to collect the rainwater from the shed roof. As well as a great way to save water, it will also mean the children will no longer have to carry the water from the tap on other side of the playground to the garden.
Tools and Plants
Whilst the work on the garden continues, the Friends have been sourcing gardening gloves for the children to use. Parents have also been donating seeds ready for the children to plant once the beds are ready.
Gloves and packets of Seeds.
What are the benefits of gardening for children?
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) states that the direct benefits of gardening for children are wide ranging:
- Improves physical and mental well-being
- Builds life skills such as confidence, teamwork and communication
- Enhances literacy, numeracy and oracy skills
- Enriches the entire curriculum from science, maths and geography, to art, design and languages
- Encourages a better and healthier lifestyle
- Teaches about the environment and sustainability
- Helps young people engage with their surroundings better and develop a sense of responsibility
On the other side of the playground is Tom's Garden, a striking blue structure. Though loved by the children throughout the year, it is particularly used during the summer months as a cool quiet place to sit and play.
The decking and fence posts around Tom's Garden have rotted and become broken. Also most of the benches can no longer be used and need replacing. The Friends and School are working together to restore Tom's Garden.
Broken decking, posts and benches
The Friends have agreed to purchase six new blue benches for Tom's Garden. These benches are made from long lasting recycled plastic so will never rot like the old benches.