YOUNGSTERS at Ettrick primary school have been so good at gardening that they've won a national award, writes Sally Gillespie.
The tiny six-pupil school entered the ‘get growing’ category of the online Appetite for Action competition and were judged the best in Scotland – and the team led by teacher Anita Branston has won 3,000.
Mrs Branston said: “The children are feeling so successful in themselves. It’s not winning the Lottery because they have worked hard, it’s about reaping the benefits of their hard work and perseverance, setting goals and challenges and achieving them.”
Appetite for Action is run by the award-winning environmental charity Global Action Plan and Sky News. And the project’s Jenni Wiggle and Karin Jacobi visited on Tuesday to present the school with their prize.
Headteacher Mo Brown said: “What an amazing achievement by our green, mean eco-team. This rich garden-to-fork experience is the very essence of Curriculum for Excellence.”
The school had to take five ‘actions’ involving reusing, reducing, recycling, preparing, and planting the garden and composting.
They had to supply details of the exact size of their garden (10m2) and the number of people involved, as well as what was being planted. And they are now growing more than 40 different kinds of seedlings of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Mrs Branston said: “Appetite for Action encouraged us to want to grow more. There seemed to be no limit to it once we got started. The children really were actively involved, even using break and lunchtimes, and even the extra PE hour a week to work in their garden. “
And the children would bring in the likes of old yoghurt pots for seedlings, or making them out of paper.
Classroom assistant Carole Howden said: “Four years ago we did not have a garden, and over the past few years we have grown more varieties of plants and become more adventurous in the type of things we have grown. It has brought staff, pupils and members of the community together, all becoming involved in our project and learning new things along the way. It has been a wonderful experience.”
The school had a market day at the end of May when they sold seedlings to the local community.
P5’s Caitlin Ryde said: “I love the garden because I love planting and growing things. Market day was good fun – it was good being able to grow lots of things and working together.”
Now the whole school is looking forward to eating their produce and their harvest frenzy day.