ABOUT OWLS WITH TROWELS
In October 2017 Miss Williams and Mrs Davies (A parent & volunteer) started doing gardening with Year One. They utilised the space next to Year one to create an outdoor space full of flowers, vegetables and fruit.
The Year one garden soon took shape, bloomed and became a joy to behold. At the end of their very successful endeavours and to the delight of many people in school, the Year one garden was awarded a “gold” from Leeds in Bloom.
Whilst winning such an award was great it wasn’t the only way the project bore fruit (sorry 😊); Miss Williams and Mrs Davies noticed how much the children enjoyed gardening. The children’s satisfaction from seeing plants grow and produce fruits and vegetables was clearly visible.
Miss Williams also noticed that the children found gardening to be an enjoyable break from the purely academic side of the curriculum. The children also seemed to be in a calmer mood for the next tasks of reading, writing and arithmetic.
It was clear that gardening wasn’t just an enjoyable break, it also promoted learning in the classroom.
In 2018 Mrs Marsden (another parent and now a school governor) joined the team and they started having regular planning meetings. A request for volunteers to join them proved to be very fruitful! (sorry 😊). Enough volunteers came on board to cover the gardens for years one, two and three.
After lots of hard work and nurturing, the gardening team, volunteers and children were delighted to be awarded another Gold from Leeds in Bloom.
Not wanting to “rest on their laurels” (sorry 😊) The team decided they wanted to bring the benefits of the project to all the classrooms in the school, however funding these endeavours wasn’t straight forward.
Enterprising ideas such as making bird feeder fat balls enabled the team to buy seeds and some seedlings, but they knew that more than enterprising ideas would be needed to fund the next stages of their aspirations.
The drawbacks of the British weather had brought the realisation that a poly tunnel would be a great way to extend the growing season and protect the more delicate plants from inclement weather.
On the flip side of the coin, lack of rain especially over the summer holidays had been a disaster for many of the plants; an irrigation system would be needed.
Funding the purchase of the plants and seeds, a poly tunnel, raised beds and an irrigation system wasn’t going to happen by selling fat balls alone so the team approached FoBPS to get some funding help.
FoBPS are now raising funds to help the team extend the project in order to :
To establish a poly tunnel, which will be a teaching space which whole classes can use (an outdoor classroom!)
Extend the project and get raised beds to all class gardening areas
Have an irrigation system installed
To hold a whole school bulb planting event ‘BULBMANIA’
To resource both lower and upper school with gardening tools
To allow the children to experience growing a range of fruit, vegetables and plants from seeds and bulbs
To see the produce we grow used in our school meals
To further encourage wildlife into our school grounds and provide homes and habitats for them
To enhance the science curriculum, providing hands-on learning experiences
To make recycling and reusing a key objective throughout our gardening project
To share growing skills with each other, parents and the wider community, firmly embedding the growing culture into school life
Shortly after approaching FoBPS Miss Williams had a great idea for the project name, as the school’s mascot was an owl it was a very apt idea, “Owls with Trowels” was born.
In the coming year we’d like to achieve much more, and with your help we really want gardening and growing to be embedded in school life and for all of our children to experience its rewards.
If you have any questions about the project or would like to volunteer to help please email firstname.lastname@example.org