Good morning, Prep School family,
I hope you are all very well. I hope you also enjoyed the weekend and managed to have some fun with your families and friends. I have had a relaxing weekend, fairly quiet but a good opportunity to catch up with odd jobs and the bits I have been putting off for a few weeks! I did manage to see my friends on Saturday afternoon for an outdoor afternoon tea. . . thankfully the tearoom did take outs and my friend had a gazebo in her garden as it rained most of the afternoon and the tearoom had no shelter. We had a great time though and a little bit of rain didn’t put us off our scones! It was really lovely to catch up with them and hear all about their weeks. We had plenty of laughs and happiness certainly filled the air. These are my best friends, the girls I went to school with and these will be the girls I grow old with. There is nothing like a few hours with people you love to make your heart sing!
So last week, Mrs O’Keeffe offered me a plant to take home and grow. I am not sure why she did this as she is still nursing back to full health the two peace lilies that I managed to nearly kill about three years ago! I kindly said no as I didn’t want this aloe vera plant to suffer the same fate as all of my other plants! Now, I very definitely don’t have green fingers. I love indoor or outdoor plants and I love flowers. Each week, I treat myself to fresh flowers for the house and each week, I am grateful that my long suffering peace lily is alive! I have three cacti that would probably survive better in the middle of Death Valley and a hydrangea that looks completely and utterly dehydrated (even though I am feeding and watering it as per the instructions)!
I not sure why I cannot keep plants alive or flourishing. I really do try so hard but it just isn’t happening for me . . . or my plants! But this saga has got me thinking about gardening, about how relaxing and therapeutic people find it and how good it is for people’s mental health and wellness. My auntie lives (not literally!) in her garden – she is always planting, pruning and watering. Her kitchen is full of seeds that are geminating and she has a greenhouse full amazing vegetables and plants. Her garden looks like a quintessential English cottage garden and her raised vegetable patches are a thing of beauty. I bet you can imagine how much she despairs at me!
One thing that I love to see at school is the children outside gardening. It’s such a great life lesson and something they should do more often. I am so pleased that Eco Club have identified gardening as an area that they are going to work on in the coming months and I am over the moon that at HPW, the long abandoned and over grown allotment area is finally going to get some use. So I did some thinking and lots of reading of articles and I thought I would share with you 10 reasons that gardening is so important for our Prep School children. These are in no particular order!
10: Gardening engages all five senses – what does the soil feel like? What does that tomatoes taste of? Can you hear the crunch from a carrot? Can you smell the strawberries whilst they are still attached to the plant? How does the soil feel in your hands? The questions and sensory experiences are unlimited!
- Gardening encourages healthy eating – Do you have a fussy eater at home? Get them growing – how do you resist eating peas straight from your pod or blackberries off the bush? Grow and cook potatoes together, try the courgettes you have spent months tending and snack on the tomatoes straight off the vine. . . Maybe you can find a new favourite food?
- Gardening enhances gross motor development – dig, rake, pick, plant, turn, water. . .from the tiniest seed to the biggest marrow!
- Gardening is science! Again think of the learning opportunities and the questions we can all ask! Why is the leave green? Why do plants need sunlight? Why does this plant need a different kind of soil to another? Which plants need more water and why?
- Gardening is a great family activity – you can learn and grow (!) together – there is no time or place for electronics when you have a garden to tend too!
- Gardening teaches responsibility – Plants need a lot of attention. Learning how to care for plants properly and in different ways is a great lesson. From weeding to watering – all of these jobs need to be done by someone!
- Gardening can help children to plan and organise – this is never a bad thing! Some plants grow at different times of the year. Some like to be nearer the shade, others in the light. Some plants don’t like to be near each other and some do well next to a specific type of plant! All of this needs planning, researching and carrying out!
- Gardening creates environmentally friendly people – those who understand how much time, effort and care that goes into growing food will realise how important farmers are and why it is so important to take care of our planet. Discussions can be had here about food that is out of season and the carbon footprint that this creates.
- Gardening develops maths skills – How far apart should the seeds be planted? Should they be planted in rows? How many seeds can you plant in a row? How much water does each plant need? How long do they need to germinate? How many hours of sunlight will each plant get? How big does my vegetable patch need to be? So many maths problems to be solved!
- Gardening teacher patience – It takes time to plan a garden, plant the seeds, water and care for them. Waiting for them to grow can take many weeks or months. Gardening is all about patience. . . you cannot hurry mother nature but my goodness, she is worth the wait!
So on that note, I am going to repot and water my peace lily, give my cacti some food and dead head my hydrangea as instructed by my auntie. . . fingers crossed they begin to look much healthier. . . if not, Mrs O’Keeffe, they will be coming your way!
Days of the year themes for the coming week:
Tuesday 18th May – Visit Your Relatives Day, No Dirty Dishes Day and Museum Day
Wednesday 19th May – Numeracy Day and May Ray Day
Thursday 20th May – World Bee Day, Notebook day, Pick Strawberries Day, Weights and Measures Day, Be a Millionaire Day and Quiche Lorraine Day
Friday 21st May – Bike To Work Day, I Need A Patch For That Day, Pizza Party Day, International Tea Day, Endangered Species Day, Memo Day and World Meditation Day
Saturday 22nd May – Maritime Day and Sherlock Holmes Day
Sunday 23rd May – Turtle Day and Lucky Penny Day
Monday 24th May – Tiara Day, Brother’s Day and Escargot Day
Quote of the week: “Never regret a day in your life: good days give us happiness, bad days give us experience, worst days give us lessons and best days give us memories.”
Riddles of the Week: I thought for a few weeks we would mix it up a bit and replace out jokes and facts of the week with riddles of the week! Get your thinking caps on!
The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?
What begins with T, finishes with T, and has T in it?
What can you catch but not throw?
Meaningful May calendar task (This month’s theme is all about reflecting on what gives our life meaning. Being a part of something bigger than ourselves and focusing on things that we value is key to our wellbeing. So let’s take time to reflect on what we care about this month and keep these things at the front of our minds as our societies begin to open up again.):
Tuesday 18th May:
Find a way to make what you do today meaningful
Wednesday 19th May:
Send a hand-written note to someone you care about
Thursday 20th May:
Reflect on what makes you feel valued and purposeful
Friday 21st May:
Share 3 photos with your family that you treasure and explain why
Saturday 22nd May:
Find a way to help a project or a charity that you care about
Sunday 23rd May:
Find and share a quote you find inspiring to help give others a boost
Monday 24th May:
Recall (and share if you want) 3 things that you have done that you are proud of
Sleeps til Santa: 221 days
Five things I am looking forward to this week (thanks to Mrs Hinch for the inspiration): Can you try this each day? Remember, it focuses your mind on the positive and reminds us to show gratitude for things, no matter how small!
This week I am looking forward to: seeing my family indoors, meeting new people, starting a new book, going for an evening walk and my morning coffees!
Have a great week,
Lots of love
Footsteps, a teapot and a cold!