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Spring visits to gardens in Birmingham.

NAEE's Hugh Kenrick Days offer schools in the West Midlands the opportunity to apply for financial support to give their pupils a chance to visit an outdoor environmental education centre. We believe that first-hand educational experiences in their local environment help young people to understand the importance of the biosphere to all life on the planet. These experiences can be the springboard for excellent further curriculum-focused activities back at school.

Cotteridge Primary School, Year 4 Kenrick Day visit to Birmingham Botanical Gardens, March 2017

Jonathan Wilson

On Tuesday 14th March Cotteridge Primary School's Year 4 classes visited the Botanical Gardens to delve deeper into the depths and mysteries of the rainforest and to enjoy a day filled with learning in the great outdoors. Cotteridge Primary School is located in the inner city and is an area of Birmingham where many children do not get to visit outdoor areas often. Several children had never been to the Botanical Gardens before and many children commented on how they had never, or rarely, even explored their local park! An educational visit to the Botanical Gardens to learn about the plants, animals and nature was engaging, informative and an experience that everyone enjoyed greatly.

The children had the opportunity to handle animals including stick insects and a chameleon The children had a hands-on session with rainforest animals, handled artefacts from the rainforest and even looked at the products that originate from the resources of the rainforest. The day allowed the children to explore their topic of the rainforest on a deeper level and the children even had a few facts to share with the staff at the Botanical Gardens! The entire day complemented and built upon the learning and knowledge the children have explored throughout their topic lessons in school. Everyone enjoyed the day and Year 4 are looking forward to uncovering more of the mysteries of the rainforest!

Having a well-earned rest in the bamboo maze

The Kenrick Days bursary allowed these children to experience outdoor learning at its best and inspired some future budding gardeners! adventure

Oasis Woodview Academy, Year 1 Kenrick Day visit to Martineau Gardens, 28th & 29th March 2017

Ruth Holmes

We visited the gardens, one class on each of the above days, to enhance our science topic on plants. Before the visit, children were taught about evergreen and deciduous trees and they had a basic introduction to the parts of a plant.

During the visit, they enjoyed looking at, smelling and tasting herbs. Fareedah thought the chives tasted "like pepperami". Ruby thought the mint was "like toothpaste". They also tried spinach and rhubarb--which provoked rather mixed reactions. They learnt the important lesson: that you must never eat anything, unless the person telling you to eats and swallows it first. Khaled remembered that "Rhubarb leaves will poison you." Husnain said: "I love rhubarb and spinach. I eat spinach at home."

In the orchard, we learnt about different fruit trees and looked for signs of spring--blossom and buds.

In the glasshouse, we learnt about the parts of a plant and pollination. Jahvae and Khaled liked being the butterfly and bee. Hayden had asked earlier: "What is fertilisation?" He understood much better after this activity.

In the woods, we learnt to identify trees; we found horse chestnuts, ash, oak and yew. The children enjoyed working with partners, blindfolded, to 'meet a tree', and also loved bark rubbing.

Walking back to school, children noticed some bees going in and out of the blossoms on a magnolia tree--"They are looking for nectar," said Husnain--he'd previously thought bees got honey from flowers.

Back at school, we have planted some lettuce seeds, sunflowers (in pots) and seed potatoes. We have discussed what the plants will need to help them grow. We have been predicting how long they will take to grow and how successful they will be. As spring moves into summer, we are hoping to grow some herbs too.

The children have described Martineau Gardens as "beautiful" and "so pretty", so we have been thinking about how we could make our playground more beautiful and discussed the importance of tidying up litter, looking after the flower beds etc.

The visit certainly consolidated much of the work we have done in school, as well as teaching the children more about plants and the environment. They all greatly enjoyed the visit and I think that, as well as learning about specific plants, they have an enhanced appreciation of the natural world.

More information

Caption: The children enjoyed singing 'Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush', but learnt that it's actually a tree!

Caption: We thought that collecting leaf samples on sticky paper bracelets was a fabulous idea!
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Title Annotation:West Midlands: Kenrick Project
Author:Green, Juliette
Publication:Environmental Education
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 22, 2017
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