Gardening safely during the pandemic
With all schools set to return next week, we have put together some guidance and tips to help you get growing again and use the outdoors to support the wellbeing of pupils and students.
03 March 2021
A garden or outside space can be a brilliant way to support young people and staff alike when returning to school, and it can give everyone a bit more space to breathe. Equally for youth groups, childminders or families that are continuing to support children at home, some of these activities will help children connect with nature and feel better.
Having young people working in small groups is a great way of keeping everyone safe and may also be easier for those who are finding large groups unnerving.
Our Growing Topics resources are the perfect way to achieve your gardening goals but in small groups. Each topic provides a collection of small activities that can be done over a number of sessions.
Our suggested set up has the class or group split into four smaller groups, each working on an activity. After around 10-20 minutes, each group can move round to the next activity until everyone has had a go at everything. However, the framework is designed to be flexible to allow you to plan and use it however you wish.
Try out these Growing Topics, perfect for spring:
Spring Seed Sowing: in this topic, pupils can have a go at sowing seeds, making their own pots, designing plant labels, learning to spot weeds and nurturing their seedlings.
Wildlife Wonders: this topic will have pupils thinking about what wildlife they'd like to attract, designing small or large bug homes, designing their own fun creatures and hunting for worms!
To help make your activities safe, check out our risk assessment further down the page.
The pandemic and UK lockdowns have taken their toll on everyone and our wellbeing has often suffered. Using your garden or outside space can be a great way to help young people feel like they have room to distance from others. It may also help them feel more comfortable about opening up and sharing how they're feeling, or provide them with a quiet activity if they don't feel like socialising.
Last summer we shared some of our top tips on using a garden to support wellbeing, from creating 'chat and do' tables, safe zones and mindfulness sessions, to setting up a gardening club or teaching lessons outside.
Read our tips here and see if you can introduce one of these ideas this term. maybe ask pupils or students what they might like to see?
We've updated our risk assessment template and guidance to include things to consider while we are still working through the pandemic. This guide should also help you if you're looking to set up a new gardening club, develop a new garden or site, or start up some new activities.
Check out our risk assessment guidance here.
Share with us
We would love to hear from you and understand how things are working in your school, group or setting. Your successes can help us to improve our resources and guidance and could provide inspiration for other schools and groups too.
If you've tried any of our activities or come up with your own ways of gardening safely during the pandemic, please let us know via email, Facebook or Twitter.