Forest Gardens for East Manchester Schools
East Manchester has a lot of degraded and contaminated soil whether from its industrial heritage or from various waves of regeneration. Consequently, MEEN decided that positive action to improve the fresh food supply, improve the soil quality and the local habitat for both wildlife and humanlife could be done by planting Forest Gardens in school grounds. Furthermore, the pupils at the participating schools could learn all about planting and woodlands and have a new area in which to learn and play.
What is a Forest Garden? A Forest Garden focuses on trees and other perennials and mimics the layers of a forest creating an eco-system all of its own. It does not need to be dug and sown annually so needs less maintenance and this also helps store carbon in the soil. As the plants grow they also provide free food, herbal medicines and other resources.
So with support from the Ernest Cook Trust and working in partnership with Red Rose Forest, we planted two forest gardens, one at St Anne's RC Primary School in Ancoats and another at Old Hall Drive Primary School in Gorton. The planting days were a great success with both schools exploring their new resource through increased outdoor learning. From this work MEEN also developed curriculum-linked resources for EYFS, KS1 and KS2.
For more information read the Old Hall Drive Primary case study, the St Anne's Primary case study. More recently, in 2015 and with the support of the Collyhurst Big Local Partnership, we planted a forest garden with Abbott Community Primary.
The Forest Garden curriculum resources are available:
The Early Years Bug Quiz click here.
The Forest Garden Game - Year 2 Science and D & T click here.
Who am I? - Year 4 Science, plant identification quiz and competition click here. Also download these support materials: Who am I? Question sheet; Answers for teachers; and Supporting images.
The Big School Bioblitz - KS2 classes click here.