This year, to try to increase awareness of the school allotment amongst our parents and families, the school and allotment volunteers decided to hold an open day when visitors connected to the school could hopefully come and discover what a fantastic place the school allotment is, and see some of the results of the children’s (and volunteers’) hard work throughout the year.
Similar events had been attempted in the past but with limited success, so we tried to involve as many children in the planning of events as we could in the hope they might encourage their parents to come along on the big day. We were very grateful for the agreement of the Committee in allowing access to the site to our school visitors, and we were aware of the need to ensure access was restricted, as far as possible, to the school plot, and was not taken to be a general invitation to explore the site as a whole.
Reception children helped make bunting which was used to mark the perimeter of the school plots and children from Year 4 were recruited as guides to shepherd visitors and talk about the work they’d done at the allotment over the course their class visits during the year. Mrs Anderson, our Music Director, agreed to perform with our KS1 and Y3/4 choirs and the allotment volunteers promised to provide refreshments for all…
A date was chosen in May when the greenhouses and raised beds would be hopefully full of the plants the children had sown from seed back in February, the weather might be kind to us and the whole site would be looking it’s best.
It turned out to be a warm, sunny Spring day, just as we’d hoped. The Reception children’s brightly coloured vegetable bunting led visitors from the Highbury entrance to the school plot; our Year 4 children wore their ‘School Allotment Guide’ badges very proudly, ensured visitors stayed on the school plot and explained to them about the fruits and vegetables being grown; the school choirs sang beautifully in the Spring sunshine to a huge crowd of smiling parents and families, and everyone loved the delicious refreshments produced by our fabulous allotment volunteers.
We think as many as 250 people came to have a look and see what happens at our school allotment that day. Most had never been before and many described how astonished they’d been to find such a huge plot, so well run and so beautiful!
The Head, Matt Ward, thanked everyone for their efforts in making the day such a success and explained that, while we are incredibly fortunate to have a group of very hard-working volunteers, without whom, none of this would be possible, extra pairs of hands are always welcome. If you’d like to join our volunteer team, please catch Gavin Aarvold or one of the other volunteers on the school plot on a Wednesday afternoon, or speak to Tim Cook (plot 17a).
Plans have already begun for a WJPS & Community Allotment Open Day in 2023!
Year 4 Class teacher
Outdoor learning lead
West Jesmond Primary School