Thursday, 23 September 2021

Youngsters reap the rewards of having own allotment

Youngsters reap the rewards of having own allotment

CHILDREN, parents and staff from the Henley Village Montessori Nursery attended the official opening of their allotment.

The youngsters have been visiting the plot at the Watermans allotments, off Reading Road, once a week for the past year to plant crops as part of a Forest School scheme.

Now they have harvested their first crop of rhubarb and planted strawberries, fennel, spinach, sunflowers and tomatoes. They fenced off the site with wood made from pallets donated by Henley town councillor David Eggleton and built a polytunnel.

The project was also supported by Southern Plant and Tool Hire, of Henley, which lent tools, and the Wyevale Garden Centre at Playhatch, which donated materials.

The pupils eat what they grow during snack times at the school, which meets at the Christ Church Centre in Reading Road. Over the coming year, they hope to increase the frequency of their visits and bring elderly people and their carers to the site following the closure of the Bluebells day care service, which used to meet at the centre.

Nursery manager Kaley Hayes said: “We’re trying to take education out of the classroom and into the outdoors so the children can experience nature.

“This has so many links to maths and English because you’re measuring out quantities of things and writing labels. It’s more meaningful than just learning from a book as it teaches them how these things apply in the real world. The children are always excited to visit in all weathers and hopefully it will inspire them to eat healthily and grow their own produce when they grow up.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of this project and I’m very thankful to everyone who has supported it.”

Councillor Eggleton said: “If the children get involved in this at an early age, it’ll become second nature to them and they might even go for a career in gardening or cooking. It’s a brilliant idea.”

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