Philippa Riste examines two quite different books about gardens and growing, and finds them both valuable.
Gardening in School All Year Round is an excellent teaching resource to equip schools in the creation and maintenance of a functioning school garden, with associated gardening club. Each month has a dedicated double page spread full of practical information, suggested tasks, and teaching activities appropriate to that time of the year, and the book also covers health and safety essentials and even fundraising ideas! The pack includes a CD with additional risk assessments, weed identification photographs for use with a class, and sample seed packet templates, among many other helpful extras. Clare Revera is a primary teacher with 15 years of experience developing school grounds to help pupils and teachers be more green-fingered, and her experience certainly shows in this indispensable handbook.
How Does my Garden Grow? is a beautifully illustrated storybook about a little girl called Sophie who lives in the city but goes to stay with her Grandad John, who teaches her all about how to grow vegetables. The narrative is interwoven with factual information interesting to children and adults alike. The text is complex in places and so as a story is probably aimed at children older than 5, but the pictures are so full of detail that a younger child would be happily absorbed in spotting animals, vegetables and garden tools, and in counting the vegetables featured on each page. A lovely book for use in preparing children for a session in a school vegetable garden, or in a module on where food comes from, as well as in teaching on ecosystems as the narrative encompasses not only the plants and vegetables Sophie is growing, but the small animals and insects which support and are supported by plantlife, as well as the impact of the weather on what she is trying to grow.
Gardening in School All Year Round Clare Revera; ISBN: 978-1857411720; Southgate, 2010; pp 31; £15.95
How Does my Garden Grow? Gerda Muller; ISBN: 978-178250-037-7; Floris Books, 2014; pp 32; £10.99