The New Rush Hall School Allotment is a wonderful and very important outside space for pupils and adults alike. Research has shown that outdoor learning can help boost academic performance, improve child development and connect children and adults to nature. It’s good for health and wellbeing and can improve behaviour and mood. The school allotment is a space not only for learning but a calm place to come to for reflection, mindfulness and relaxation.
On the allotment, our pupils can learn all about Horticulture and lots more! We embrace organic growing and pest control methods, helping to protect the environment and produce food that is free from chemicals and safe to eat. From sowing seed, right through to harvesting and using their produce in Food Technology, pupils can learn about where our food comes from and how it is produced. With an introduction to sustainability (Permaculture), they can also learn about crop rotation, how to propagate plants from cuttings and runners and save seed. They learn how to reuse and collect rainwater, make compost and reuse/recycle products.
We have a cut flower area where our pupils can learn hands-on about the biology of plants and the importance of pollinators. We have a polytunnel for plant propagation and growing indoor tender plants, and a wildlife garden with a pond to study habitats and ecosystems. With our wildflower borders and a mature mixed hedge adding to increased biodiversity, we can attract a wider variety of insects, birds and wildlife for our pupils to study. Every year we take part in the ‘RSPB Big Schools Bird Watch’ and as if that isn’t enough, we also have a small woodland, orchard and soft fruit area.
We run a Garden Club every day where pupils can choose to come and take part in an activity such as bird, insect and butterfly watching, pond watch, plant care, plant and bug identification, drawing, reading or just to sit and relax in a beautiful space. Garden Club pupils can set up a shop where they can prepare the surplus plants they have grown to sell. The Club learns how to raise funds through donations to buy more plants, seeds or gardening products for future Garden Club activities.
Last but not least, outdoor learning gives our children an appreciation and love for our natural surroundings, promoting environmental awareness and hopefully future stewardship of the natural environment. We are very proud of our allotment and hope you follow us on our journey!