Welcome to the Lionel Allotment Blog. As part of our Eco Schools action plan developed early last year, we are beginning to create an outdoor learning space for all Lionel children to enjoy. Suitably named ‘The Lionel Allotment’, having a school garden at Lionel Primary will provide our children with an abundance of outdoor learning. From watching how plants grow and develop to students having the opportunity to get outside and get their hands grubby; it is a great source of fun.
The aim of Lionel Allotment is to:
We are very excited to be growing a variety of produce and to provide hands on, outdoor experience for our pupils. On this blog, we will update you regularly on the progress of our allotment.
We planted the seed and discussed the idea of an allotment 2 years ago after our first environmental school survey. The space of our allotment was decided. Transforming this space began instantly with old brambles, nettles, weeds and some dead trees removed. Here are the before pictures after the brambles, nettles and weeds were removed.
Work began turning over the soil to remove roots and rocks. Ms Baldwin had some volunteers to help, including Gerard, Mrs Marsden, Miss Wilson and Phil, Mrs Taylor, Kit and Bella, Mrs Joyce and Paul. While digging, we found many creepy crawlies and some friendly amphibians. A fence was put up to separate the staff lounge and allotment area and we started building the raised beds out of pallets.
Word quickly got out about the fantastic work on the allotment. So many members from our Lionel Primary community offered to help, donate goods or passed on contacts that would help us if needed. Our team of volunteers worked hard to put together the raised beds, filled them with soil, lifted old pavers to make way for new donated pavers, sowed new grass seeds and finally finished removing all the weeds, roots and rocks.
April was a big month for the allotment. Children from year 1, 2 and 3 worked hard; planting, weeding, building wigwams, creating bird defenders and counting flowers. Currently in the allotment, we have potatoes, runner beans, peas, radishes, lettuces and tomatoes growing. The children have been excitedly monitoring the growth of new shoots and are eagerly awaiting harvest time.
All the excitement we had been waiting for happened in May! We had our first harvest of the season – Oak class loved picking, washing and tasting the radishes. Fir class picked the lettuce and equally enjoyed having some fresh salad leaves with their lunch. The radishes and lettuce were showed to each class and the excitement on all the children’s faces was amazing and a real highlight. Growth in the allotment continued – the beans, peas, tomatoes and potatoes began to grow rapidly and our strawberry plants began to flower. Which meant one thing, strawberries were on their way!
June had a mixture of weather, which made the allotment valuable to other subjects. In Art, Pine Class used the flower garden to practise their real life sketching skills. The flower garden is filled with an array of bright, colourful flowers and shrubs to attract bees to pollinate our veggies and flowers. Poplar Class built a miniature weather station and recorded the weather every morning and afternoon, including the measurement of rain, the direction of wind and noted sunshine or not. Ash Class enjoyed listening to stories on the soft grass and Bramble Class planted Raddish seeds and monitored their growth until they were ready to be picked. Towards the end of June, preparation was in full swing for our Grand Opening next month!
Finally.... IT WAS PARTY TIME! On July 2nd, Lionel Primary School had the official opening of the Lionel Allotment. Teachers, parents, community guests, donators, governors and of course students, were invited to attend and enjoy the fruits (or veggies) of our labour. The ceremony began with a brief speech from Ms Baldwin, who took us back in time to explain where the idea of the Lionel Allotment first began and shared our vision of Lionel Allotment. Anna, from Ash Class in year 5 shared a beautiful poem called 'Daffodils' followed by Maya from Blueberry who shared a poem called 'Green'. Zuri and Elin from Pineapple shared their experience of the Allotment for science and what they enjoyed the most. Ryan and Asil from Fir Class spoke about their hard work preparing the soil and excitement when they finally got to harvest the radishes, peas and lettuce. Ivy and Soniya demonstrated to our special guests how they used the weather station to record the daily weather and Jayden and Cecily from Oak Class told us their favourite part of the allotment and something they previously didn't know.
To conclude the ceremony, Ms Baldwin and Miss Wilson unveiled a special plaque that was kindly hand crafted and donated by Ms Wilson's parents.
Finally, it is with great pleasure, that we formally announce that Lionel Primary School is officially an 'Eco School'. We have passed the final stages and were awarded our Green Flag Award just in time to share this wonderful news at the ceremony! Well done to all children and adults involved. Watch this space for an even more exciting year ahead for Lionel Allotment!