Children at Queen Mary's Westfield Nursery have been discovering the natural world thanks to an allotment patch in the Green Mary Garden on our Mile End Campus.
The Westfield Nursery accommodates 65 places for children of both QMUL staff and students, as well as those from the local area, between the ages of three months and five years old. By maintaining their own patch within the allotment and putting on weekly visits for children when weather permits, staff have helped the children gain knowledge and experience of planting and growing their own fruit and vegetables.
The trips to the garden have been a major success, enjoyed by children and staff alike who look forward to them each week. As well as allowing the future gardeners of tomorrow to take responsibility in caring for plants and watching the change in their seeds as they grow, all the children have been able to feel and taste ripe fruit and veg to explore new senses and tastes by witnessing first-hand the features of the natural environment.
The initial idea for the initiative stemmed from a lack of growing space for vegetables, fruits and flowers on a large scale within the nursery's own facilities. Helping the children to engage with the natural world is one of the nursery's aims, backed up with research undertaken showing that growing and planting has a positive impact on children’s learning and well-being. Through securing an allotment space with QMUL's sustainability team, the nursery has been able to access the necessary facilities including tools and seeds to foster the children's development.
The visits to the allotments link to wider the wider curriculum at the nursery, exploring a range of sustainability related topics from nutrition, health and fitness to creativity and cause and effect as well as building self-confidence and responsibility along the way.
Staff and students at QMUL can find out more about the Green Mary Garden here.
If you would like to find out more about the nursery, please visit http://www.nursery.qmul.ac.uk