For three weeks now, Helen Connor has been the headteacher of a primary school that turned a car park into a gardening oasis at Rhyl Primary School on Rhyl Street, Kentish Town – North West London, England. She plans to keep environmentalism at the heart of the curriculum of the school.
A method has already been implemented to improve on the school’s existing eco credentials in this short period. In collaboration with Tom Moggach, son of Hampstead author Deborah Moggach and an outdoor learning teacher at the school, Connor wants to make sure every pupil knows how to eat healthily foods and all about sustainability and seasonal produce by the time they graduate.
Connor was head of North Harringay Primary School in Harringay before moving to Rhyl Primary. “What’s challenging are the restrictions on the curriculum,” she said. “There are expectations and demands to be met, which are becoming increasingly harder to manage but it is important that it remains a central part of the curriculum here and it doesn’t become overshadowed.”
She added, “Ultimately, we are teaching the leaders of tomorrow. Many children we teach will be teachers, some will be politicians and some will work on the market in Queen’s Crescent, so if the message can get out there, it can only have a big impact.” Moggach has had the children working on small gardening plots in the corner of the school’s car park. They often visit the outdoor space at least once a month.
This urban garden produces a wide variety of salad leaves as well as lettuce, courgettes, watercress and strawberries. The Food for Life Partnership has recently given the school a silver award for using sustainable ingredients in its healthy lunch menu, most of which were handpicked from the garden plots outside. Food for Life Partnership is a network of English schools and communities.
Moggach joined the teaching staff in 2012. He is a food journalist who believes outdoor learning is a “cross-curricular” activity that also gives the children exercise.“Children are fascinated by nature, by things that grow – animals. It’s about educating parents to some extent, as I know many of them don’t have a garden or an allotment and they can learn from their children,” Moggach said. “I don’t think it is challenging for the younger ones, because they have a natural affinity for the outside,” added Connor, who has been teaching for 20 years.
About H Potter
H Potter (http://page2rss.com/rss/6596fa2205b7310aebc454664e79ba0f) started, like so many great businesses of the United States, on the kitchen table after family dinner and before sending the littlest in the group to bed. Gardens are places where families gather and experience great moments.
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