Our nursery children ‘grow their own’ for Children’s Gardening Week

Forest cool 50

Children at Smarties Nursery in Rastrick learned how to grow their own vegetables as part of Children’s Gardening Week 2019 (25 May – 2 June).

The project – which is part of the nursery’s ‘Forest Cool’ outdoor learning enrichment programme – aims to help the children understand more about the origin of their food and where it comes from.

Lauren Brier, Senior Practitioner at Smarties, explained:

“So far the children have planted a wide range of vegetable seeds in our poly-tunnel, including carrots, peas, lettuces and tomatoes, and the children have been monitoring their growth over the last few months.

“Our first pea plants will soon be ready for harvesting, and we’re planning to plant sunflower seeds to learn about the features of plants and what they need to grow.”

She continued:

“In addition to our Forest Cool sessions exploring wood cutting, making tree pulleys and looking at the habitats of insects and wildlife, our educational gardening programme takes the healthy eating message Smarties promotes one step further to develop the children’s understanding of exactly where their food comes from.”

The nursery established the gardening project earlier this year, using a polytunnel greenhouse on its forest school site. The project covers a variety of topics such as how a seed transforms, what a plant needs to grow and what food the plant produces.

Lauren Brier, Senior Practitioner added:

“This project offers a huge focus on the Understanding The World aspect of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and throughout this process the children are gaining an understanding of growth, decay and changes over time. They use mathematical knowledge to measure and monitor the growth of their plants; using measuring tools and comparing the heights of other crops.

“It also helps the children develop a sense of responsibility, by taking care of their plants from start to finish.”

In February this year, Smarties Nursery was rated ‘Outstanding’ by education standards body, Ofsted.

The report found that staff at Smarties “support children’s emotional wellbeing exceptionally well”, while children “thrive and build extremely secure emotional attachments to their key persons.” It also noted that staff “provide activities that are highly appealing” and “precisely meet the learning needs and preferences of individual children.”


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