growit is a fantastic way of engaging children in the wonders of horticulture. Expert guidance helps teachers and their pupils gain the confidence to employ all of the skills and techniques required to establish and run a fully-fledged edible garden.
Schools do not even need a large and ready plot of available land to take part in growit. Indeed, many of the Open Futures schools have exploited some truly unexpected places to create their garden, all of which are now flourishing and providing a steady stream of food for the kitchen. The techniques employed can be adapted to growing in a traditional style allotment, raised beds, classroom patios or even simply containers.
With advice and assistance given about how to establish the garden, the children are then taught how to use tools and care for their plants and vegetables, from sowing through to harvesting, from tomatoes to potatoes.
Most fun is the fact that children get the chance to experience – via the linked cookit strand – the wonderful feeling of cooking and eating something that they have grown themselves, from a simple seed.
growit is a key feature of the Open Futures skills and enquiry-based learning programme and has many material benefits. Beyond the appreciation for plants, vegetables and the seasons that children gain, is the fact that kids who sow, grow and tend to their own food have shown a fantastic desire to taste and eat the fresh and flavoursome fruits of their labours.
As pupils grow and cook, they are also combining these new skills with other forms of learning: Maths – measuring out the beds before digging; Biology – looking at the insects and invertebrates they dig up; Health – planning what to grow in the garden; Global Citizenship – cooking recipes from different parts of the world; Geography – where does basil come from? History – how did tomatoes get to the UK? Literacy – expanding their vocabulary as they discuss the gardens and the recipes they are going to cook... growing and cooking can involve the whole curriculum.
Find out more about growit by reading about the gardening experiences of some of the Open Futures schools in the Case Studies section.