Weeden Heights Primary School is located in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. We have been delivering the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program for over five years. Children from Year 3 through to Year 6 regularly participate in both Kitchen and Garden Classes with students from the lower year levels also participating on the rotating basis. Two specialist teachers deliver the program, Ange in Kitchen and Mandy (Me) in Garden. We are also very fortunate to be well supported by our school community, the wider community and Seila the Garden Specialist from Aspendale Gardens Primary School (Another SAKG Program School located in Melbourne's south).
We have an extensive and ever changing garden system which includes vegetables, herbs, fruit trees and chooks. This year huge raised garden beds were built by our wonderful school community to replace shallow less productive beds which will allow us to manage the soil and increase production much more effectively than before - as well as being easy on young and older backs! The children are actively involved in managing the soil, raising plants from seed and ultimately harvesting produce for use in kitchen classes.
Our chooks have grown in numbers this year too. Their home 'Chookingham Palace' is looking more like a palace than ever! With their new fence and automatic door opener(!) our chooks can now safely roam from dawn to dusk. Children in 5/6S were lucky enough to trial our egg sales program where families were able to buy some of our eggs while raising much needed funds for the program. Orders and payment for eggs were collected, packaging designed and orders processed and delivered to the classroom all by one of our Special Needs students. The egg sales activity provided vital links between the curriculum and Garden, providing students with Special Needs in particular with the opportunity to participate in engaging and meaningful learning experiences.
We will continue to grow healthy and delicious organic food, and also learn about the impact of food production on the environment, in the process gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to take control of where at least some of our food comes from. This would not be possible without the dedication and continued support of our staff, students, school community and community volunteers.