We had a fantastic day at the launch of the Meridian High and Fairchildes Primary School’s shared Edible Playground in Croydon this month – also our first edible playground in a High School. Their edible playground was bursting with life and was one of three Edible Playgrounds opened in Croydon – one of the capital’s food flagship boroughs – over the past few weeks.
We were delighted that Councillor Louisa Woodley, (the Cabinet Member for Families, Health and Social Care and the ward councillor for New Addington, where the schools are located) attended and officially opened the garden. She was extremely impressed with the project and proud to see what the pupils had achieved.
Here are some quotes from the Head Teacher’s at the schools explaining how their edible playground has had an impact on their pupil’s lives and learning:
Mr Martin Giles, Head Teacher at Meridian High said: “All too often young people are growing up without a good understanding of the benefit of balanced healthy eating and an appropriate knowledge of the danger of eating too many processed foods. The impact of our edible playground has been immediate and deeply felt by our garden ambassadors. We have very quickly seen that the students have a real ownership of, and pride in, what they are doing in the garden. Their minds have been awakened to new possibilities and there is a tangible excitement about how this project can be developed in the future. We are grateful to Trees for Cities for being such fantastic partners and we feel lucky to be able to benefit from their passion and commitment. This is an important element of our Healthy School status and we look forward to strengthening this partnership in the years to come.”
Helen Carvall and Tracey Langridge, Head Teachers at Rockmount Primary School said: “The completion of our Edible Playground has sent us on a very exciting new journey here at Rockmount Primary School. Children have delighted in planting a wide range of fruits, vegetables and herbs and are impatiently watching them grow! The outdoor classroom provided by our Edible Playground has become a popular learning hot spot and supports the whole primary curriculum. We can’t wait to taste our first harvest and use our produce to cook some healthy and nutritious meals!”
Virginia Marshall, Head Teacher at St Giles said: “Trees for Cities has worked closely with us to develop an Edible Playground that is accessible to all our very special learners. Each class has planted salads and vegetables in their new wheelchair accessible raised beds. They are looking forward to harvesting and tasting their produce before the end of term. This is fantastic, hands on learning that really develops an understanding of where our food comes from.”
Ros Sandell, Fairchildes Primary School said: “From the first handling of cultivators and dibbers (and learning what these were) through seed planting, watering and weeding, we now have our first produce in the form of baby carrots! All the children are enjoying the experience and opportunities that Trees for Cities has given us in creating our Edible Playground and all are looking forward to harvesting and tasting the fresh fruit and vegetables to come!”
We have created 30 Edible Playgrounds and with support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, we are rolling out to other cities – Manchester, Reading, Liverpool and Sheffield.