Putting a garden at the heart of the local community. A Froebel Trust funded project at Spateston Early Learning and Childcare Centre in Renfrewshire, Scotland.
Spateston Early Learning and Childcare Centre was awarded a Froebel Trust Practice Development Grant to explore how the "outdoor environment is pivotal to children’s learning and their engagement with the natural world". This grant will support the children at the setting "to grow their own vegetables and fruits and develop their understanding of the cycle of nature."
Bringing in the expertise of people from the local community, to support and develop knowledge and understanding of the growing process, the team are developing their use of their garden and outdoor spaces with the children at their setting.
"Building a network of community helpers will assist with the sustainability of the garden." Judith Thomas, Head of Centre
This project focuses on the Froebelian principles of unity and connectedness.
"We want to use the expertise of people within the local community to support and develop our knowledge and understanding of the process, working alongside the children to do this. Our neighbouring small holding has livestock that we visit. The children are adopting hens. They have started to go and collect the eggs, look after their wellbeing and take on the overall responsibility that comes with caring for animals." Judith Thomas, Head of Centre
"The responsibility the children have for growing and looking after our allotment lets them use the produce to cook and bake regularly. This natural experience enhances children’s knowledge of the world around them and gives them an insight into real life experiences such as environments, society and economy." Judith Thomas, Head of Centre
Working together, the educators and children intend to grow, cook and create - selling their jams, soup, bread, scones, fresh eggs and potatoes in their local community. Any profits they make will support the further development of the setting's growing space and sustainability projects in the nursery and local community.
"Our centre clearly identifies outdoor learning as being equal to indoor learning." Judith Thomas, Head of Centre
The project is running until June 2024. A final project report/ evaluation will be published here.
About Spateson Early Learning and Childcare Centre
Spateston Early Learning and Childcare Centre is situated within the Spateston community of Johnstone in Renfrewshire. The nursery was created 40 years ago, welcomes children from aged three and has 124 children on roll.
"The learning and teaching that children take part in at Spateston Early Learning and Childcare Centre is influenced by a philosophy based on the work of Friedrich Froebel, an educational pioneer from the nineteenth century. Family and community were of central importance to Froebel, a value that we share within our service where family and community are at the heart of education."