Using Gardens and Woodland as a learning resource for SEN and EBD Pupils
Growing Schools provides advice, inspiration and resources to support practical engagement by children and young people of all ages with food and farming, gardening and green spaces and wildlife and the natural environment. Growing Schools activities are of real value to children of all abilities, but can be a particularly powerful approach to engaging and developing young children who struggle with formal classroom learning. In 2009-10 Growing Schools produced 2 booklets with a range of case studies and practitioner testimony to show what is being achieved in a variety of settings.
During 2010 a Growing Schools project managed by the Royal Horticultural Society drew on the experience of 6 schools in West Sussex to produce more case studies and resources that are being shared with schools and across the country through the website of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.
Now I am delighted that, as part of the work of Growing Schools during 2010-11, a group of specialist SEN/EBD teachers from the North East of England have worked together to provide lesson plans and resources to help KS3-4 teachers of children with special educational needs develop high quality learning experiences. They have chosen 3 exciting contexts for these new resources recognising that:
- within the challenging British climate the polytunnel can increase opportunities for learning outside the classroom through growing-related lessons;
- with a little creativity it is possible for all schools to explore trees, woodland and ‘bushcraft’ activities as a stimulus for learning; and
- while, for many, bee keeping may not have been an immediate choice, bee related activities offer the chance to explore another innovative new world of learning for young people.
The focus with all the resources is on practical ideas for the classroom – both inside and out! Taken separately or together these new resources provide those with less experience or confidence the opportunity to explore the natural environment within and around their own school with students with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties and with students with special educational needs.
Mike Goodfellow, Growing Schools
Melanie Lyons, Dawn Henderson, Kathryn Lindop and Gary Smith
Abbey Hill School and Technical College, Stockton-on-Tees
Elemore Hall School, County Durham
Westlands School, Stockton-on-Tees