Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Over eight hundred children from different schools across the city came to the sixth Heritage and Environment Festival at Moulsecoomb Primary School. Pupils got to do everything from making WWII potato pancakes from ration book recipes (made a lot more edible with a dollop of jam from the schools cherry plum trees), brass rubbing, bug hunting, weaving, archaeological digs, fire making, neolithic hut reconstruction, wattling, carving, sheep herding and dressing up as a Lewes Priory monk. There was also a session attended by over 150 teachers and school staff about how to include outdoor learning into the curriculum. We took pupils from the Swan Centre to have a look around the festival before they came to the forest garden for a bit of bush craft and pizza making.
Thursday, 19 July 2012
Our last session with pupils from the Swan Centre ended in the kitchens. Thanks to funding from the Big Lottery funded Harvest project we have been busy since February transforming the outside space at the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy and it was time to try out the produce. We boiled two different varieties of potatoes, added some sliced green onion tops and mayonnaise and then decided which variety we liked best. We even offered some finely chopped chocolate mint to sprinkle on for the more adventurous. Our side dish was grated beetroot and radish (red as well as white mooli ones). After we’d eaten, the leftovers went back onto the compost heap. Now we’ve got to decide what to do with the rabbit that’s taken to nibbling the veg…
Wednesday, 11 July 2012
At the beginning of every school year Moulsecoomb Primary Year 1 pupils visit the forest garden to plant garlic and hunt around for bugs and food. But this isn’t a one off environmental message, the school ethos is all about outside learning. Both Year 1 teachers have a small space outside their classes where they grow food and one has even planted a wildflower meadow which is fighting with the dandelions for attention. They’ve had lessons on everything from composting to chickens as well as taking part in the fantastic Heritage and Environment Festival. In fact the school grounds need to be seen to be believed and when I hear about parents scrabbling for school places in Hove I reckon they are missing a trick not considering the school (ok i'm biased, my son goes there and i’m a parent-governor but it really is fantastic; just get over your prejudices about Moulsecoomb). The fact is many children learn best by doing and who wants to be stuck in the classroom all day when you can have a Maths or English lesson in the Fairytale Forest? Or learn about geography in the World Garden? Or World War II in the Anderson shelter? It’s about bringing learning to life. Yesterday those same Year 1 pupils came up to harvest their very fine looking garlic, cook pizzas in the clay oven, pick fruit and pod peas. Today the fruit will be turned into a milkshake thanks to the new smoothie bike built by the dads and their kids in the Super Dads club.
Thursday, 5 July 2012
We have been running a lunch time garden club for Year 4 at Moulsecoomb Primary for eight years and the one thing that nearly all children will eat is garlic. So their first lesson in the environment garden (which is totally surrounded by the school and is home to the chickens) is planting garlic. And their last? Harvesting the garlic and then making garlic bread. Really strong garlic bread. With cheese and even pesto if their feeling adventures