A Scottish nursery was awarded a Froebel Trust grant to develop a family garden involving the local community.
Ferguslie Early Learning and Childcare Centre is in a suburb of Paisley, Scotland.
The aim of this project was to develop the outdoor learning space together with families and members from the local community to expand the outdoor learning environment to include a specified area for growing produce.
This area was developed over time to provide rich opportunities for children within the centre to learn all aspects of horticulture from, and with their families and community, from sowing, caring and harvesting produce. The aim was to expand the garden to include accessible raised beds for growing, a meadow patch and a small orchard. By using local community groups to support in this build and sharing of skills, the hope was to create an ethos of inclusion and belonging in a learning community.
This area provides many rich firsthand learning experiences for the children, allowing children to fully develop appreciation of the wonders of the natural world and gain an understanding between all living things. Children can make connections within the garden area regarding seasonal changes and the impact that this can have, learning to identify and respond to the needs of the growing garden.
Teaching children responsibilities and respect for living things can bring great joy. Fruits, herbs and vegetables harvested from the garden can be prepared and used within the nursery for children to support many tasting, cooking and baking experiences. The children have autonomy to take their own learning forward creating their own recipes. Children also experience how to cook using the produce grown and have opportunities to demonstrate these skills to their families and community by holding master classes. Children help to produce their own recipe cards and resources that enable them to take home learning bags to replicate this learning with their families.