Little green fingers: First class students are planting their own veggies in outdoor classroom
THE FIRST class pupils of St.Patrick’s National School in Bruree have been digging into a gardening project for the last few months of the school year.
The 16 pupils of Jean Hannon’s first class have embarked on a very successful food gardening project. With two raised beds, Jean and her students have planted an array of different foods. From onions and potatoes to peas and beetroot, they “basically have the makings of a full dinner,” as Jean describes.
“I’ve been doing the garden maintenance since our last principal, who had green fingers, retired,” Jean explained, “I usually do it with second class pupils but this year I got first class. I said I’d challenge them and they absolutely rose to the challenge.”
Since the schools opened back up in March, Jean and her pupils have tended to the garden every Friday.
They also use very sustainable gardening methods. They have a rain harvester on the school grounds. This rain harvester gathers rainwater which they then use to water their plants and vegetables.
“This is about teaching the children all about sustainability and giving them life skills to bring into adulthood,” said Jean.
Jean remarked that the garden has been great for the children’s mental health, especially after lockdown,
“After Covid-19, a lot of these kids were anxious. They didn’t know the day or the hour or when school would shut again. This has created such a positive thing for them and something for them to look forward to every week.”
This garden has become an outdoor classroom of sorts as well. Jean said that, along with teaching children how to plant and all the language and terms that come with that, she also incorporates maths, “when we were planting onions I was talking about centimetres.”
Jean commended her pupils and their dedication to the garden, her pride obvious in her voice, “The weather hasn’t even stopped us. They were so committed and hardworking. They’re a great class.”
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