Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Heaven and Nature Sing!

Time to close the gate on another productive year ... 2011! With grateful thanks to all who helped to make the 'Kitchen Garden' programs flourish, in many schools in the Parramatta Diocese!



A Gift from Imelda!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa visits Nano Cottage!

If there is one jolly big man in red guaranteed to have students entering into conversation, it is Santa Claus ... even if it is a blow up version! Thanks to the generosity of Imelda, (St Michael's Parish Blacktown South) who along with Sylvia, brought joy and gifts to the students who were enjoying their end of year Christmas Party!

Happy Christmas and Holidays to all!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tips & Tricks
www.bankofideas.com.augreat online newsletter
http://www.freecycle.org/group/AU/   … free of charge. Free community recycling rehoming
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/grants/education.htm lists all the competitions available
www.daleysnursery.com.au (fruit trees)
www.perryrunners.com.au (strawberry runners)
www.livewellatschool.nsw.edu.au NSW Dept ED and Communities
www.crunchandsip.com.au  Live Life Well (Crunch and Sip)
www.gardenate.com (also have ipad/iphone app. Aussie site)
Scoop it – Google
Use www.snapfish.com.au or similar programs, to make colourful books to place in the school library
iPhones, iPads and laptops have ‘evernote’ – good to use for  recording audio and visual  data, Lisa Nash at LEX, is happy to run training sessions
Use visuals to compile small readers - something like the PM readers which students can read often
Vegie bags – contact Lisa Brown at Jarara
Grow cultural foods and invite families to give a history of their origins
Invite Costa Georgiadis to speak to students, teachers and parents
‘Kitchen Garden Bus Tour’, take the tour or be a ‘host’ school – contact Clare to make a booking!
Bush tucker plants – contact Erin Rowe erowe@greeningaustralia.org.au
Promote school gardens on school websites and link to Kitchen Garden blog – http://kitchengardensinschools.blogspot.com/label/search/ … then name of school garden e.g SPKG for St Patrick’s Kitchen Garden – contact Lisa Nash for more details!
Posts for the blog i.e. photos and a blurb, can be sent to Clare or a suitable time arranged for a visit
MCain’s annual competition … collect
Barcodes for garden products

Write to another school, the ‘Composting Team’ at St Michael’s, Blacktown South are writing to the ‘Green Thumbs ‘at St Mary’s in North Dubbo – you may need to put up a mail box in your garden!
Seed save and have students set up a stall to fund raise for seedlings and garden products ... this activity is a great way to develop practical language skills and  ... it is especially easy to gather seeds from sunflowers!
Visit other Schools /Early Learning Centres, e.g. Glenhaven State school, Abbotsleigh College, 'Mia-Mia' Macquarie University, to see exciting and practical ways to use the outdoors as a learning space!                                    
Stingless Native Bees
AConversation Circle
Source plants with your school's name, e.g. St Patrick's Rose

Put water plants in a wishing well e.g. yellow flag water iris

Plant two olive trees to ensure success!
Look for vegies which grow in strange places and discuss how they came to be there?

Form an environment group such as Nano's Nature Nurturers and invite all interested parties from the school community ... engenders great discussion and ideas!

Keep an eye out for the next Youth Eco Summit and take students for a great day out of hands on learning!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Language of the Season!

It is important to include students in the preparation for Christmas by encouraging them to make their own decorations and to talk about what they are doing. Nano Cottage became a hive of activity as a Nativity Scene was constructed using a cardboard box lid and finger puppets with gold crowns, became the three kings!A yellow 3D star was made using a plastic cup with a cut out star-shape attached and carefully placed on the top of the tree!

Lots of good "At home this is what we do ...." stories, were generated and correct seasonal terminology used! A Christmas wreath was made using a scarf and strawberry candles, with sprigs of lavender placed in the centre!

Friday, November 25, 2011

News from the 'Garden Buds'

The 'Garden Buds' from St John's Primary, Riverstone, plus some of their classmates, enjoyed their second 'Kitchen Garden Bus Tour' on Monday 14 November and visited four Kitchen Garden schools in the Parramatta Diocese, to meet students who share their love of learning by doing!
At St Patrick's Primary Blacktown, students investigated the 'no-dig' garden process, at St Andrew's Primary Marayong, notes were taken on how to grow delicious strawberries and at St Francis of Assisi Primary Glendenning the value of watering plants was experienced first hand!
The animals were a talking point at St Michael's Primary Blacktown South, where the Nagle College agricultural students gave tips on animal care and diet! Nano Cottage provided respite from the heat as the temperature rose to nearly 40 degrees but this didn't deter the students from stirring the compost!

St John's Primary Riverstone
The garden buds: establishment of vegetable and bushtucker gardens

The 'Garden Buds' program is designed to establish a vegetable garden and a bush tucker trail amongst an already extensive native planting on school grounds to complement our semi-rural environment. This project will help to develop and extend the oral language skills of our students as they interact and communicate with others and develop their public speaking skills when presenting information about the garden buds program. This program is supported within the framework of our Catholic ethos as students come to learn and appreciate God's creation. It will allow us to further our recycling practices with the inclusion of worm farms and composting of food waste as well as demonstrate garden to kitchen links with a menu featuring fresh 'home-grown' produce in our parent-run 'Snack Shack' initiative and provide a source of income to feed back to the program with excess produce being sold to school families and friends.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Healthy Hearts Garden Club!

The students at Sacred Heart Primary Mount Druitt South have come up with a wonderful name for their group ... The Healthy Hearts Garden Club!

The club is an opportunity for students needing extra support with their oral language and social skills, to learn how to follow specific instructions, increase their vocabulary and work as a team. The photos show the joy the students are experiencing and the healthy vegies and flowers they have produced ... well done to all the students and teachers, involved!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Strawberries Galore!

The seventh Parramatta Learning Community for Sustainability meeting was held at St Andrew's Primary Marayong on Wednesday16 November, with strawberries galore, both in the garden and served up for a fresh and healthy afternoon tea!
Educators from around the Diocese and the local government area gathered to be given a tour of the garden by Year Six students and to share success stories and 'educational/environmental' wisdom, from their schools and communities.


Four schools have offered to host the meetings in 2012, with the first one being held at St Finbar's Primary Glenbrook on Wednesday 7 March, 2-4pm ... more details next year!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Regional Catchment Field Day!

On 26 October 5B went to Plumpton Park to learn about the environment. The first activity we did was to plant Kangaroo Grass in pots for the Park. Then we went on a bush walk to learn the names of trees, such as iron bark and gum trees!
We saw how much pollution there was in the dam and were sad to learn that a lizard died in that unhealthy environment!
We were given some kangaroo grasses to take back to school and plant around our kitchen garden, which is flourishing due to the Spring rain!
Lydon 5B - St Francis of Assisi Primary Glendenning

*This opportunity was an initiative of Blacktown City Council and the event was free!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Just add parsley!


Produce from a kitchen garden can be used in a variety of ways for seasonal celebrations! The Nano Chefs added parsley to the ghostly biscuits and jack-o-lanterns as a way to take the garden to the kitchen! It was gooey, messy work, hollowing the flesh from the pumpkins but no one was complaining, in fact the necessary steps were carried out to the letter and in the end two cheeky looking 'Halloween Pumpkins' were the centre piece for a fun celebration!