Chowbent is a primary school based in Atherton. We held a ‘Green flag’ back in 2009 and have currently implemented a new Eco warrior committee to help regain our ‘Green flag’ status. With the help from pupils, parents and other colleagues within Chowbent we are now running a number of different eco activities which give the children hands on experiences of the environment we live in and how different things are grown and produced.
We have recently started our own healthy tuck shop within school where the children can chose between a range of fruit and healthy snacks. We run our tuck shop in the morning for all children. This also links with our after school gardening club as we have encouraged the children to eat healthy and have therefore, allowed the children to have a go at growing some different vegetables and fruits in our school vegetable plots. Once these have grown will then be able to sell our home grown products at snack time for the children to try.
Tesco; farm to fork
Mr Haynes and Mrs Cooke took the after school gardening club on a trip to our local Tesco’s in Atherton where the children were able to take a sneaky peak behind the scenes of the busy store and to see how different food is stored. This was a very hands on experience for the children. Not only were they able to have a look at the vegetable and fruit department, the children also baked their own bread. They got to touch, feel and taste food and learnt about the journey their food takes from farm to fork.
Local businesses, a help in hand.
With no budget to set up our gardening club we wrote to local stores, shops and businesses for help and donations. We got lots of help from our local community and were provided with things such as soil, seeds, plant trays and pots from Morrison’s, vouchers from both Argos and B & M Bargains, poppy seeds from Abbey Funerals and 1 tonne of gravel and wooden pallets from Travis Perkins. We have also held non-uniform days where children were asked to bring a plant or gardening equipment to help with our Eco activities. This was a huge success.
We grew poppies from seeds with the children to mark the 100th year. This proved very hard and only 4 seeds grew as you can see in the photo. We made a bunting and added special pictures to the plant box to celebrate and remember the fallen soldiers.
Recently Chowbent have been receiving used coffee beans from Mcdonalds. Mcdonalds have set up a new eco project which shows them giving something back to our community and when we heard that they turned their old and used coffee beans into compost we thought this would be a good idea to use in our gardens at school. The children really enjoyed finding out about how the coffee beans started off as a plant and how they are helping our plants to grow, even though they weren’t too keen on the smell.
The children at school are very hands on and love to get involved with the new projects we are setting up. One day, whilst on the playground the children noticed that there was a lot more rubbish than usual and asked what we could do to help. This is how we formed our Litter picker group. Each playtime and lunch time a group of children go round with litter pickers and a black bin bag and pick up the rubbish that is left on the playground which is generated from snack time. However, rather than all the rubbish going into the same bin we got in touch with Wigan borough who provided our school with recycling bins. Each time the litter picking group had finished picking everything up they would then go and split their rubbish and put it into the appropriate bins. Our parents also got involved with our recycling scheme and two of our parents brought in two compost bins which are situated in our school garden for all of our fruit and garden waste.
Leaves collected in recyclable bin bags and disposed of in compose bin.
Vegetable plots and jam making.
Following our trip to Tesco we set up vegetable plots at school where the after school gardening club were able to plant vegetables and fruits. (Food to fork) One of the vegetables we grew was broad beans. Once the broad beans were ready to pick we took them to our school kitchen and asked them to cook them for us so the children could have taste. We also grew our own strawberries. We had lots of different reactions from our tasting sessions but the children loved the experience of getting to try things that they had grown themselves. We also have a damson tree at school and therefore, I took it upon myself to make some damson jam for both the children and staff to enjoy.