Overcoming barriers and concerns….
If you are concerned about your school's ability to run a growing project we hope that this section will help with alleviating some of those concerns and overcoming barriers such as those listed below:
Time: This site provides session and learning plans and a detailed step-by-step guide on how to run this project, plus some back-up classroom activities if the weather is bad. Our aim is to limit the amount of extra time teachers may need to run this project. We estimate the amount of time needed as 3 hours of practical preparation to start the project and 1 hour teaching preparation for each of the three practical sessions. These sessions will take 4-5 hours of classroom time over approximately 4 months.
Expertise: We have included lots of straightforward instructions which means anyone - with or without previous gardening experience - can run this project. The step-by-step project guide goes through each of the 3 stages in detail, lists all the equipment you will need and explains what to do with your produce at the end of the project.
Confidence: Will it grow? By following our instructions the project should be straightforward, but we have provided back-up plans if your plants don't grow! The site does provide a useful Further Resources section should you need any extra help.
Money: A growing project can run with minimal costs involved. We have provided a list of what equipment you will need and how much it will cost. Overall we have estimated that the project will cost schools who are growing in the ground £40 - 50 and schools growing in containers £50 -60. However using recycled materials will cut these costs down.
Resources: When listing the equipment you will need to run the project we have aimed to use the minimum that is necessary. To keep the cost down other options could be to:
1. Ask parents to donate any unwanted or surplus gardening equipment.
2. Use recycled materials, for instance ask parents to bring in any containers which are otherwise thrown away such as large plastic tubs for planting or egg boxes for sowing seeds in. In the section 'Growing in Containers' there are more suggestions on using recycled containers. We have also included a list of useful websites in the 'Further Resources' section of the site including ones where schools can get free resource packs and free advice and information, including downloadable information sheets.
People: You may feel that you don't have enough staff to run the project. The sessions have been designed to be able to run with two staff present (teacher and support) - if your class is divided into four groups three can have an indoor activity while the fourth group is outside gardening, and then each group can rotate activities. One staff member supervises the 3 indoor groups whilst the other is outside working with the more active group.
If you do have more staff (or parents) to help then perhaps the whole class can take part in the gardening activity at the same time. We have included a form letter for you to photocopy and send home to parents inviting them to help run the project