School Projects

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Here we provide some examples of our major School Projects where we work with staff, children and parents to create an inspiring and fun place to learn.

The Oval Primary School, Yardley, Birmingham

The Head Mrs Rachel Chahal at The Oval Primary School contacted NLK Garden Services to see if we could help build a bottle greenhouse with their year 6 children. This project was linked to them working towards the Food for Life Partnership scheme (which they have now been given a Gold Award). The Head had been given our name through our link with the Food for Life partnership and had seen our website showing the bottle greenhouse we made at Clifton Primary School.  

The whole school had been told to gather 1500 2l bottles over the next few months and visit recycling areas to collect any remaining bottles required for their 8 x 6 bottle greenhouse.

NLK Garden Services ordered and delivered all the wood, screws, canes, clips and other fixings needed for the job in hand. The Staff and Parents had all been asked to bring in some power tools, screwdrivers, saws  and a few hand tools to help the process run smoothly. The idea was to work with small groups of children, staff and parents throughout the two days to construct the bottle greenhouse. During each session NLK went through the objectives and coordinated working in teams, including risk assessment and health and safety.

After day one (top 3 pics) many bottles had been cut, placed and threaded onto canes ready to be attached to the greenhouse frame. Once the wooden frames were together the rows of bottles were screwed and clipped onto the frame to complete the side panels. The main greenhouse frame posts were set into the correct positions and the frame screwed on.

Day two (bottom 3 pics) involved the construction of the roof and door frames, and some internal bracing to stabilize the structure. The team worked really well and the bottle greenhouse was completed by home time. 

We were very lucky to have two really hot, dry days to work in, which made the plastic bottles easier to cut and manage. This was a rewarding project which brought all the year 6 children, staff and parents together as a team and to get the job completed on time. Happy growing for the future!

 

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Nurture Me Day Nursery

Lutterworth Nursery were expanding to bigger premises and called NLK Garden Services to help design and build a new secure garden for the children to play in. The area was part of an old car park, so we had a blank canvas to work from. After several visits and consultations a design and date was agreed and work could begin. 

The owner had already arranged to rip the tarmac up. The site was measured, marked and levels put in place; it became apparent the garden would need to be raised to get the required depth of soil for growing. The first item to be built was a decking area for the play house and seating, then the fort. The raised fort is the centerpiece of the garden providing perspective for its surroundings; the path doubles-up as a roadway for the children's cars and bikes. Turf was used in stead of the more costly rubber softplay matting. New railway sleepers formed raised beds around the perimeter so that the children had some growing areas for fruit, vegetables and wild flowers. A large sand pit was incorporated into the features of the garden.

The Air conditioning unit was trellised off for safety and a bespoke seating area constructed to provide a reading spot. Bark chippings were placed around this area due to it being a shady site and ideal spot to put the play equipment. 20mm gravel was placed around the sandpit area to help with drainage. Around the perimeter we installed sleepers so we could raise the area up and make the site more level and growing friendly. Approximately 30 tonnes of material was required plus a lorry load of wood to complete this garden.

 

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St Benedict's Roman Catholic Primary School, Atherstone

NLK Garden Services was asked to visit their school and meet the Headmaster Mr Hammond and Mrs Furlong Smith to discuss potential ideas for the school garden. On arriving, I was amazed at the size of ground available to work with and the wonderful opportunity to create something special. The school was very lucky to have been given a National Lottery grant to go towards the work. After several workshops with staff and children, listening to the many ideas being suggested, it was time to sit down with the older year groups and decide on what they really wanted prior to finalising the design and build plans.

After the plan was put together, it was time to meet everyone at a parent evening and see whether they agreed to the plans and also what help and materials they could offer towards the garden project.

We started construction with a staff, parent and children workshop weekend. It was lovely to see so many willing helpers all armed with barrows, spades, power tools etc. We were able to build all the Treasure Chests (raised beds for each class to grow fruit, veg or edible flowers for the Food for Life Partnership) and most of the Treasure Island built. NLK completed the decking area the following week. The next job was to build some seats for the Sensory Garden.

We were so grateful to Gaby (a parent at the school) who arranged for Stonemarket to sponsor the project after seeing the garden plans. They were very generous and provided most of the hard landscaping materials required to get the mini-projects underway. We were amazed how quickly the materials were delivered, and many thanks to Jo for giving her time and expertise offloading materials in the right places! 

Over the next few workshop weekends we made a concrete Timber Walk to the Bird Hide and Wildlife Feeding Station, lifted the grass around the Treasure Island, fixed tyres into the ground for the Sea Monsters, and then laid landscape matting and spread many tonnes of gravel, slate and Derbyshire chippings.  We then made a start concreting in paddle stones to mark the sensory areas. With the help of many willing parents over the following weeks this task was completed along with the bird hide and the feeding station, which was funded by the Food for Life Partnership Scheme. 

Next came the Tardis, just in time for Doctor Who to save us from an invasion of Daleks during the Summer Fair, phew! Then came the biggest project of all the Sinking Galleon Ship classroom to go where the ground was bare and very muddy! Ooh, lots of fun and excitement all around from the children and many questions like "What you doing" (an all time favourite), and "when is it going to be finished" ? At the end we had most of Key Stage 1 in the ship all jumping up and down and putting it to it's ultimate test, with a lot of excitement and roars the ship survived, amazing! 

A few of the other projects included the Lunar Space area, the Fossil Forest Amphitheatre, bird hide and wildlife feeding station, Fort, Shelter, Bug Home and Willow Dens in the making.
The final workshop weekend takes place on 5th-6th Feb 2012. With many last wish lists including Totem Poles and a Musical Area we are going to have to appoint leaders to help coordinate the various jobs ahead. Watch this space to find out how we got on! This final stage is still awaiting due to poor weather and change of Headship at the school. The new Headmistress Mrs Susan Shannon has been in contact and hopes to get the project underway sometime soon!

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Clifton-Upon-Dunsmore Primary School and Community Garden, Rugby

The school garden was put together after a business week, where two classes were asked to work together and draw up some ideas of how they wanted the garden to look. We went in at the beginning of the week and helped break the subject down into manageable sections so as not to overwhelm the children. A few days later we went in with a selection of plants to help bring some ideas to life as well as discussing their thoughts so far. At the end of the week, the classes were asked to give a presentation so the whole school could review the ideas and come up with any more.
Once we had all agreed on the main features to be included, work could begin. First we started with the pond area, as the children all thought this needed to be the basis of the garden. On designing the area to scale, we thought it would be beneficial to make the seating area a covered one. That way it could be used in all weathers as an outdoor classroom. Due to the garden being quite confined, the seating was made into special storage cupboards, to contain all the nets, tanks and books needed for ponds. On one side of the decked area, we installed a bridge ('Who's walking over my bridge' and many other games are played) and on the other side we made a ramp to make all areas accessible to those in wheelchairs or with walking aids. Once leaving the decking area, you walk onto a  yellow brick path, which then leads you round to the castle. The children have great role play converting it into fairy land, the dragons kingdom or the soldiers fort. Be careful of the Dragon lurking in the garden - kindly made and donated by one of the parents at the school - have you spotted him yet?
We used as many recycled items as possible, so everybody got involved in donating items, whether it was slabs, bricks, stones, plants or decorations and best of all the swing seat. The swing seat was a huge success, and makes a lovely place to relax whilst parents and young children enjoy the garden. The children put good use to the many pallets left over, to make there own bug hotel. Wow what lucky insects. The children quickly filled the raised bed with vegetables - and most produce was used in their cooking lessons during the autumn term. We also constructed a touchy feely box and xylophone out of the remnants from the decking area to go near the herb area to create a sensory garden. The garden was finally finished off with bird boxes, animal homes, water butts, mirrors, garden ornaments and posters to turn the whole area into a sustainable and lovely relaxed learning zone.

Feedback from the Headmaster Mr Briggs..."Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication and all the help you have given the school. You have helped produce an innovative and wonderful garden which enables the school community to access a place of tranquility, inspiration, learning and wildlife. The secret garden will provide our community and its wildlife with many years of enjoyment as we watch it grow and develop."

Feedback from The Governors ..." Mrs Moore took some derelict school land and worked with the children and staff to create a secret garden with reflectory, sensory, learning and growing themed areas. The garden can now be used by the children for 1:1 tuition, small teacher groups and whole class lessons, providing a fantastic addition and resource to our outdoor learning space. We are most grateful to Mrs Moore and her team at NLK Garden Services for their creative design, leadership and ongoing teaching support."  Mrs Bower, Chair of Governors.

 

 

Food for Life Partnership Workshop Weekend - 23rd & 24th January 2010

Here are some photos of the event, including the construction of planters around the school and a greenhouse made out of recycled plastic bottles. Thanks to all the parents and staff who gave freely of their time and expertise to make this event a great success.

The workshop - bottling plant!

Garden Organic - planting demonstration

School frontage before

Work in progress

The new look and planters

Planters for all classes and staff!

Panels being fit with recycled bottle strips

Malcolm Smith from Garden Organic and Natasha Moore - NLK Garden Services

Greenhouse frame assembly

Roof frame and gables

Roof and panels coming together

The assembled structure - end view

Side view

The finished greenhouse

And some sturdy benches to finish off

 

Feedback from The Community Governor ..."This event was our first workshop at the school and I was anxious how it would turn out.  I knew I had a great team with Mr. Briggs and Mrs. Moore together with several other governors and parents who are always there to help out where necessary.  This was also a chance to open the school doors to the wider community and welcome everyone in to see what great work we do for the benefit of the children and the school. To my delight the hall was set up with a variety of activities for the children while all the parents and grandparents poured through the door with tools and a willingness to help.  There was an atmosphere of excitement of how the "Fantastic Plastic Bottle Greenhouse" would actually go together and soon the hall became a "bottling plant" with everyone joining in.  Mrs. Moore directed several parents to start on the raised beds within the school grounds.  They soon took shape as more people turned up to lend a hand with anything needed.  Sunday was another day and after such a good start it was soon clear that we were to finish all that was set out to be done.  The Greenhouse was completed and looked so impressive it stands proud of place on the playground for everyone to see.  The children, Mrs. Moore and I will enjoy many hours pottering about getting all things ready for the spring season.  All the raised beds were completed including bonus ones for staff and playgroup and these will now allow everyone access to grow and understand the process of "food for life".  Without such a dedicated team lead by Mrs. Moore none of this would have been possible.  She is such an asset and always there with a smile when needed which is just what our school needs to develop.  Many thanks for such a brilliant weekend. Mrs. Amanda Nixon, Community Governor.

Further information is available via the Food for Life Partnership website.

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NLK Garden Services.
Last updated: January 27, 2013.