Grant holder
Debby Hunter, Annan School
Project status

Developing the Froebelian occupation of gardening to set up a sustainable gardening eco-schools project.

Project summary

The teachers at Annan School "wanted a more connected way to care for the school garden that was in line with Froebelian principles". Teachers at the school felt that they didn’t have the knowledge or expertise to feel confident to support children in growing successfully and understanding the growing process of the plants in their school garden.

Annan school has an excellent record of engaging with nature in the forest through their forest school programme which they have shared with other settings and aim to become a centre of excellence for gardening and ecology in the early years.

With this project the team involved the local community in the project drawing upon their expertise, creating a herb garden, a growing space in a geodesic dome, and drawing in parents and community experts to share their expertise in growing organic vegetables and cooking with them as well as growing for sustainability

"We transplanted the strawberry runners into pots. We realised that the strawberries made more babies with tiny roots on the runners."
"We dug up the lettuces we had grown, we took them to the kitchen to make into a salad for everyone."
"We put the seeds out in a pattern and lit the candle for a candle time thinking about how grateful we are for the plants and trees."
"We were tending our bountiful growing beds and cutting back the hedge to get some more light. We collected and composted the clippings."
"We dug a trench, and each child planted a seed potato, one hand length away from the last persons. ‘It’s like burying treasure’."

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  • The school team aimed to introduce more sustainable and ecological practice.
  • The project had Froebelian principles at its heart.
  • As well as focusing on help from the local community (involving current and past parents/ carers who are experts in the field of growing, ecology and biodiversity), the project was all about "active hands on learning".
  • The project aimed to develop children’s sense of unity - focusing on the seasonal nature of gardening and connectedness by integration of the gardening project into the wider curriculum.
  • Throughout children were empowered by using real tools. They learnt about the cycle of seeds to table, creating an edible garden and care of plants and seeds including seed storage. Children were involved in soil management, learning how to make compost and control soil quality. They learnt about water supply and how to collect in water butts and care for their gardens.

Final project report - March 2023