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Let the children lead the activities
We recently spoke with Stuart, a gardener at home and the school he teaches at, Ashton Keynes School, and we asked him some questions about his growing at both school and home. Stuart tells us all about his own gardening adventures, and how he has incorporated gardening into his teaching, and discusses how gardening is a valuable tool for children to learn, and how his own growing has supported charities.
When did you start your gardening journey?
It was about 15 years ago when I started working with children as an outdoor educator, I was looking for activities that I could do with very young children and as my Dad was a gardener, I asked him what I could grow with the children.
What do you grow? Do you have a speciality?
I now grow vegetables and flowers both at home and school, but I grow more flowers than vegetables. I tend to grow more flowers at home as I sell them for Charity, which I have been doing for around 8 years for The Ann Jackson Fund, The Brain Tumor Charity.
What do you enjoy the most about gardening?
I enjoy picking out seedlings at home, and at school I enjoy watching the children learn how to grow, as well as building show gardens.
What inspired you to teach gardening to the students of Ashton Keynes School? Do they enjoy it?
Watching other schools building show gardens and seeing how much the children were enjoying talking about their gardens. Also watching and listening to Lee Connelly aka The Skinny Jean gardener.
Have you used coir based products in your gardening?
Yes, we have used coir products at school, and I have started using them at home as well.
What tips do you have to offer to people wanting to introduce their children into gardening?
My top tip would be to let the children lead the activities, for example, sit them down and ask them what they want to grow and let them make mistakes.
What plans do you have for the future with gardening? Is there anything you would like to try and grow which you haven’t tried before?
I would love to grow melons at home, at school our main aim is to start an orchard within our wildlife area.