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Greater Manchester Growing Schools Hub

Outdoor learning is now the ‘in thing’. And to prove its popularity some 30 teachers gathered at Didsbury Road Primary School, Stockport on 19 June to share their expertise, explore their ideas and exhort their curriculum innovations.

This after-school ‘twilight’ session, initiated by the Greater Manchester Growing Schools Hub, began with Jo Fallows of Didsbury Road Primary leading a tour of the school grounds. The tour highlighted the school’s new Forest Schools area and the development of their lovely nursery gardens with its veg beds, willow structures, wild area and mud kitchen. 

The Growing Schools Hub – a partnership between MEEN, Hulme Community Garden Centre and Sow the City – is an ongoing project and the workshops topics were suggested at previous events with teachers who want to explore how to source their gardening needs for free. Consequently the two workshops, Plants for Free, delivered by Hulme Community Garden Centre, and Gardening Stuff for Free, delivered by MEEN, aimed to come up with old and new ideas for setting up school gardens and gardening clubs without the need to write a big funding bid. To access some of the ideas discussed click here.

The workshops were followed by the first ever ‘Green Teach Meet’ session. Led by Jo Fallows, teachers were invited to deliver mini-presentations on their most exciting and innovative teaching ideas and lots of inspiration came from the floor, particularly around how to put outdoor learning into the curriculum.

The glorious summer sunshine and a good spread from Unicorn Grocery helped make the event a success. But it is perhaps the underlying positive messages that really inspired everyone: the amassed evidence proves that being outside enhances learning, it helps improve feelings of well-being, provides valuable Vitamin D, helps combat obesity, provides memorable experiences and a host of other good things.

The Growing Schools Hub will be providing further opportunities to help teachers network, share ideas and learn about using the outdoor classroom. Find out more by clicking here,   or email Raichael at MEEN to sign up for further information.