Archive for the ‘Learnscape basics’ Category

Are you interested in setting up a food garden at school? Then come and hear from experienced school gardeners and visit their gardens.

Kate Hubmayer (Black Forest Primary School), Deidre Knight (Nazareth Catholic Community), Harry Harrison (Rare Fruit Society) and Karyn Duance (Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Association) share their experience to get you started with food gardening at your school.

  • Tour the large and diverse garden at Black Forest Primary School.
  • Visit the recently constructed veggie gardens at Nazareth College.
  • Discuss garden options with experienced school gardeners siting your garden, materials to use, low budget alternatives.

Saturday 12th September. Start 1.30pm Black Forest Primary School (679 South Rd, Black Forest). Finish 4.15 at Nazareth College (176 Crittenden Rd, Findon).

This is a free event! Nibbles and certificates provided. Bus pickup 1pm and dropoff 4.30 pm at the EDC, Hindmarsh.

Register now, places limited!! Register with Matt Cattanach by phoning (08) 8234 7255 or email matt@kesab.asn.au.


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The California School Gardens Network have developed a wonderful kit of resources that are well worth a look. They cover planning, design, maintenance, resources, curriculum integration and much more. Check them out here.

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A Professinal Development short course to be held in Melbourne, Victoria commences September 28th, 2009. A successful collaboration between the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and Cranbourne and Cultivating Community brings the best of Melbourne’s school garden expertise, educators and horticuluralists to share inspiring information and stories. It is a course designed for those wanting hands on practical activities and ideas that will sustain students and staff in fun, outdoor education and connection to nature. Check their website for full details.

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In late 2008 Living Schools worked with Kogarah Council to initiate a community garden project on a local disused bowling green in Carrs Park.

Following initial promotion and community consultation regarding the concept an enthusiastic group had formed, eager to learn and to put their ideas to the test. Educators worked with the group, facilitating two full-day training session, the first focusing on strategic planning and group development and the second on site assessment and design.

Council’s landscape architect attended both sessions, listening closely to the ideas generated so that they could later be translated into a professional design. At the end of the process a strong group of about twenty people agreed on the date for their first independent planning meeting.

The top-down approach to community garden development is often cited as being problematic, probably due to the many examples where such an approach has failed because the community were never actually given ownership. This project suggests that with communication, respect and genuine shared ownership a community garden can indeed be successfully initiated from above. Council is now working collaboratively with the community group to make the garden a reality. We are eager to see how it progresses.

Living Schools have collated the work of the community group during the two training days to develop policy recommendations for council as well as a gardeners’ guide, gardeners’ agreement and initial action plan. These are available upon request to interested parties.

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Earlier this year funding was allocated to Stephanie Alexander’s kitchen garden program by the Commonwealth Government. This program has been piloted in Victoria and is providing funding for the development of both food gardens and kitchen facilities. Today Nicola Roxon announced funding to government primary schools to support the development of food gardens and kitchen facilities in primary schools.

The first process is for schools to submit an expression of interest via the website.

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Living Schools has recently partnered with the City of Sydney Council and the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Networks to produce a guide for anyone interested in setting up a community garden in their area. The guide covers setup, management and maintenance, as well as some of the trickier aspects of social dynamics. Download the 80 page guide for free here

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If you’re interested in learnscape design for children you may be interested in the work of David Sobel, who postulates that attempts to get children to take an interest in ‘saving the environment’ are likely to have little impact if the child has not first had the experience of personal connection with their environment. In order to facilitate this connection, a learnscape can be designed to stimulate the child’s imaginative relationship with their surroundings, providing opportunities for interaction and involvement. David’s book Place Based Education is worth finding.

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