Meet me at the Gates: Celebrating Spring

Working in partnership with Hammersmith Community Gardens Association (HCGA) we’re giving every child at Cavendish Primary School sustained access to outdoor practical science and nature activities, enhancing their classroom learning and improving their wellbeing.

Here, Project Co-ordinator Sarah Eastabrook shares her admiration for the children’s fascination with the natural world.

We are now into our second year of our Meet me at the Gates community project and the children are loving it as much as ever. Venturing out into the February mist to learn about animal and insect life in the garden and how creatures play an essential part in keeping our soil healthy and our gardens full of wildlife. They learnt about animal lifecycles, the food chain and different animal classifications but the highlight of each session was the chance to delve into the compost bin and the soil to look for mini beasts!

Even in the cold wintry conditions the children found lots of worms, centipedes and woodlice:

Do you like my woodlouse? He’s called Jeremy… Look!!  I’ve found a centipede!… Look how long this worm is!

Year 6 learnt about transplanting, as they moved the young garlic plants from the bed where they planted them last October to a new home in a raised bed. They handled the plants very gently and we were all surprised to see how deeply their roots had reached down into the soil over the last three months.

In March, the children went on spring scavenger hunts. They spotted nectarine blossom, counted the petals of a daffodil, learnt how hazelnuts grow on the tree, and the different parts of a tree.

They also checked progress with their planting at Corney Road Gate:

My mummy came here [Corney Road Gate] and took a picture of the lovely flowers.

And there was fauna as well as flora (displaying good road sense!):

I saw a squirrel and he wanted to cross the road and he looked right and left.

The children did a great job planting hundreds of seeds in little pots. Reception planted nasturtium seeds. Years 1, 3 and 4 planted marigolds. Years 2 and 5 planted sunflowers. Year 6 planted chives. When they return in May they will be able to check on their progress and see how big they’ve grown.

Over coming months the young students will be planting out their seedlings and learning how pollinators help plants to reproduce. The lessons themselves provide opportunities for scientific observation – taking measurements and recording data – as well as creativity in drawing, song and movement.

We can all learn from the students of Cavendish Primary School. There is a wealth of inspiration in the magic of nature that is accessible to the young and the young-at-heart. Watching the children discover the flora and fauna of the Kitchen Garden has enabled me to see the space with new eyes and a new appreciation.  Why not set aside some time today to explore the nature on your doorstep and appreciate the abundance, diversity and resilience of life all around us.  Who knows how it might inspire you?

Thanks to Katy and Poppy at HCGA; Miss Black at Cavendish School; our lovely volunteers, Concha, Deborah, Louise and Jan; and our own gardening team at Chiswick House & Gardens Trust.

Funded by: