Classrooms aren’t the only places for learning, said garden designer and BBC Gardener’s World presenter Joe Swift, presenting certificates at a celebration of the Growing Schools Gardens (GSG) Accreditation Scheme hosted by London’s King Henry’s Walk Gardens. “Fantastic outdoor spaces like this show you don’t always need four walls and a roof!”
The Education department’s Dr Judy Fox was there, along with 29 other gardens, to receive the Botanic Garden’s GSG certificate to recognise that the Schools’ Garden has already met all the GSG accreditation criteria.
Launched under the Growing Schools initiative and jointly managed by Botanic Gardens Education Network (BGEN) and Farming and Countryside Education (FACE), the GSGs scheme is the gateway to a network of Growing Schools Gardens throughout England that:
• Exemplify good practice, including risk management, in children’s learning in the natural environment
• Provide training for teachers and educators to develop outdoor classrooms for learning
• Provide access to gardens that offer a range of plant displays and opportunities for learning outside the classroom
According to BGEN board member, Gail Bromley, from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, “achieving accredited GSGs status demonstrates that member gardens are benchmarking educational visit standards. They’re delivering high quality teaching and learning experiences for children, while at the same time effectively managing risk.”
“It’s so important for today’s kids,” added Joe Swift, “especially urban kids, who are bombarded on all sides by images and ideas from the virtual world, to have a chance to learn about their place in the natural world.”
And, he continued “BGEN and its partner organisations are doing a tremendous job in promoting the Growing Schools Gardens Accreditation Scheme. As gatekeepers to potentially thousands of childhood journeys through landscapes of learning your role – and continued success – is absolutely essential.”
We couldn’t agree more! To find out more about the Schools’ Garden, follow the link bottom left.