It’s been a lovely start to the year in the gardens.
I now work every afternoon with the children who have been coming into school. We have started off the new year by setting up the recycling of all the waste paper we produce within the school. This is is a trial to see if we can keep all paper waste at the school and recycle it ourselves. We have started to make paper bricks and, if successful, these can be used in our Forest School sessions for the fire and possibly with the bread oven too.
We have fixed and oiled the wonky and squeaky wheelbarrow, thankfully! The children seemed to like the squeak but I really didn’t and was actually quite glad that it became out of action when the bolt that holds it together fell out!
We set up a second black compost bin where we put all uncooked food waste and we mix some of the waste paper into this to help produce compost for our gardens. The children have been breaking up boxes and laying them on the grass to start a new bed ready for planting our first proper vegetable growing bed. We covered the cardboard with compost from the original bin and found lots of worms in it and also quite a bit of plastic waste. We need to be much more aware and careful about what goes into the food waste bins.
We then covered this compost with some soil from existing beds we are changing and then a layer of partially rotted leaves. We will probably add a few more layers of leaves and soil over the next week or two and by the time spring comes and our vegetables are ready to plant out the conditions will be just right.
Thursday the frost and fog stayed all day, even the spider’s webs stayed frozen. We spotted Miss Birch and Miss Milburn making ice decorations with the children in their classes and decided to do the same. The children filled paint pallets with water and put leaves and berries in them, leaving them outside overnight. They froze and we placed them along the edge of the path; they looked lovely. If we have more very cold days I want to make bubbles and see what happens when we blow them. I don’t know if it gets cold enough here for them to freeze but I am sure we will have fun trying it out. If you feel like trying these out at home we would like to see your results.
On Fridays, I will now be in all day and this week we spent the morning talking about the soil food web and looking at what makes up the soil under microscopes. We talked about microbes and organisms – do you know there are more microbes on your hands than there are people on this planet? And microbes are so small you can fit millions of them in the eye of a needle? They are essential to life, we can’t breathe without them and food wouldn’t grow without them.
We sang some songs and learned a new song, if you want to learn them they are on YouTube: Trees grow tall in the heart of the forest, I like the flowers, Pete Seeger’s Green Grass Grows All Around and a new one to us, Inch by Inch also by Pete Seeger.
There was plenty of time for stories as well. I will be reading “The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler” by Gene Kemp throughout this term, which we started on Friday and were left with a cliff hanger at the end of the first chapter.
The plan at the moment is that I will be working with Mrs Greenwell’s/Mrs Vian’s class bubble until the half-term break, so if your child is in this class please ensure they have warm layers of clothing, waterproof coat, gloves and footwear suitable for going outside in the cold and wet every day; we don’t let the weather stop us. We do have spare wellies in school if needed.
I look forward to keeping you updated each week and hope you feel inspired to try some of the things we are doing at home.
Karen (Ms Chard) aka ‘The Gardening Lady’