Our allotment at The Weald is one of the most unique features of our nursery and is set to get bigger and bigger. Many nurseries dabble in a bit of growing, but we are currently the only one in our area with an offsite allotment. Our vision is lofty, but we believe the process of actively taking part in growing our food is an essential skill for our future generations.

As part of our routines, children – usually our two eldest groups, the Baboons and Gorillas – spend an entire day every few weeks, learning all about not only growing, but mother nature in general. There are currently carrots, beans, cabbage, kale, potatoes, salads of all descriptions, tomatoes, onions, garlic and much much more growing. The children begin to understand the importance of reusing and recycling as they collect water from the rain butt and put waste into the compost bin. There is also a homemade greenhouse and sheltered area for our children to sit.

The children are encouraged to be hands on with everything; collecting wild flowers to press and make collages and add to our nursery Reggio Emilia areas, pull weeds, water, plant and talk about the local wildlife. There is an allotment shop run by Pete and Mo, and a few friendly dogs (on leads) who stop by our plot for a mingle. The children have such an amazing time when they go up and the learn not just to dig and make a mess but to enjoy and know about growing for life, and appreciating and contributing to the planet’s well-being. We always invite our parents/carers to come and spend the day with us.

We are currently awaiting another plot to extend children’s activities with a dedicated Forest School focus. We are also using the allotment for focused biodiversity projects, particularly our dwindling bee population, so the children will be learning about the importance of all our creatures, great and small.