Charles Dickens Primary School Garden – Spring 2020

Each year the Company gives some charitable funds to Charles Dickens Primary School in Southwark. The money the Company has donated has gone to support science equipment, the Library and most recently the development of a garden and greenhouse. The school choir have also sung to the members at events. Below is a report from Nicola Jacobs of the school on their latest developments.

This year we have been able to plant new fruit trees and shrubs thereby creating an interesting and varied Forest School site. 124 children across the early years have had weekly group sessions developing language and knowledge related to the natural world.

We have a safe space now in which to make small fires to teach the children about fire safety and al fresco cooking which many children have never experienced. This allows them to relate better to stories about camping and adventure. It gives them the opportunity to hook new information and vocabulary onto the experiences and words they encounter in Forest School.

Other activities include: den building (which involves knot tying and developing spatial awareness and in turn helps them with mathematical directional concepts.), plant and tree identification (building natural intelligence), transient art (developing awareness of symmetry and pattern), collaborative games (becoming more aware of others and developing empathy) and clay work (allowing sensory deprived children to overcome their fears of getting dirty thereby allowing them to experience all activities on offer in science, DT and art).

This year we have been able to replace our old greenhouse with a larger greenhouse that can accommodate a group of children for the teaching of the germination of seeds, transplanting and how to grow food for the table. In our school there is resounding interest in growing plants, especially those that give food. Each year Eco Councillors report back that children in their classes want to plant more. The funding this year has enabled us to do just that.

Keen gardeners and Eco Councillors have also had a great space in which to have meetings and carry out seasonal gardening tasks.

Children with special education needs are especially attracted to the garden, finding the space soothing and calming. This space has allowed them to develop the skills of turn taking, collaboration and empathy more readily than in their class environment.

Many children have requested a mature oak be transplanted into our grounds. This is something we are now looking into.

You may also like to check out the Schools latest Youtube video here.