Welcome to the Growing Together project page. On this page you will find regular updates, photographs and information about the year long project being run with Nightingale Class. The project is being run by Mr John Cross and Dr George McGavin.
Starting at the end of January, they will be visiting school every month to work with the children in Nightingale Class. More details about the project and the events will be posted later but if you are a parent of a child in Nightingale Class or are just generally interested in the project, then please come along to the information evening on Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 7pm when John and George will be talking more about the project and how it is going to run.
In the meantime here is an introductory message about the project, put together by George and John
” Today there is a growing awareness of the effects we are having on the natural world and many of us are thinking about how we can live healthier and more sustainable lives.
Cheapside resident Mr John Cross has enlisted the help of myself, TV Zoologist Dr George McGavin, the Thatched Tavern and Cheapside School to develop an exciting new project. Growing Together is aimed at helping children understand the links between food, health and well being and the environment.
For example, it has long been known that high fat and high sugar foods are very damaging and children today need to develop the skills to make choices about food and understand the benefits of eating a balanced and healthy diet. One aspect of the project will be to encourage home grown produce, which can lead to greater self-sufficiency and reduced pollution. In addition children will be encouraged to explore the natural environment and understand the plants and animals that can be found there and the roles they play.”
As a school we are incredibly excited about the project and the impact we hope it will have on the children and families. We are also very grateful to George and John who are giving up their time voluntarily to run the project with us. Please do try and come and along on the 30th January to find out more about this fantastic opportunity for the children in Nightingales Class. Please find below a copy of the letter going out to Nightingale Class about the information evening.
Project Launch Information Evening – Wednesday 30th January 2018
Thank you to those Parents who made it to the information evening. We hope you found it both informative and enjoyable. We were delighted to have received such positive feedback about the project and we hope it is just the beginning of us all working and growing together to make some positive changes to our lifestyles. Attached below are some handouts from the evening, they include a booklet about the project, permission slips which need to be filled in and returned as soon as possible and a copy of this month’s challenge tracker page. Please note that these handouts will also come home with your child in paper version for you to keep.
The first session takes place in school tomorrow and the children will be learning all about food miles!
Food Miles – January 2019
The children have completed their first ‘Growing Together’ session where they learnt about food miles. The session raised awareness of the impact of eating foods flown in from abroad on the environment. In class they used a world map to plot where everyday foods were produced and where these countries were in relation to the UK. They found out that, for example; apples were grown in many different countries but to reduce food miles we should buy apples grown in Britain! Over the half term they have been set a challenge to visit a supermarket and find out where some popular fruits and vegetables are grown. They have then been tasked with working out the food miles from source to plate ! We look forward to the results.
In the meantime, attached is a link to a lovely video used in the session should you wish to have a look at it with your child.
Our next session will take place on Tuesday 26th February. Please ensure your child has their tracker sheet in school so we can see how many points they have earned. They will also need their completed home learning challenge. The session will focus on reducing, reusing and recycling and will be lead by Dr George McGavin. Please click on the links below for this month’s home learning challenge and tracker sheet
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – February Session
The children have had a great session today with George McGavin on reducing, reusing and recycling and the importance of looking after the environment. George began the session by showing the children all the rubbish that he had collected on a litter pick from the top of Watersplash Lane to Cheapside School, a distance of just 500 metres!! They were rather shocked and surprised at the results of 3.5kg of litter !… but it began making them think! George then talked to the children about how much litter we then might find alongside the road networks across the UK. This led into talking about the problems with plastics, palm oil and where we dispose of our litter. The children have been tasked with a recycling challenge this month. Please click on the links below to find out about the challenge.
Finally – huge congratulations go to Esme Allen for winning the challenge tracker competition this month with an amazing 246 points! We were also very impressed with her mature response to the question ‘Should people try and buy food that is grown more locally?’ Well done Esme.
Last week we also made The Ascot News !! Take a look at the image below to see a copy of the article that appeared in the newspaper this week. The article included details of next month’s family event.
Make sure you tune into Radio Berkshire on Tuesday 26th February at 12pm as George and John will be giving an interview live on Radio Berkshire all about the programme!
Save the date !! Our March session will be ‘Take Away The Take-way’ and will be a session for the whole family. This session will take place in the early evening at The Thatched Tavern. Tickets will need to be purchased in advance for adults. Please see the attachment below and put Monday 25th March in your diaries!
Thank you to all those Parents that have sent back their form for the Take Away the Take Away evening on the 25th March. We now have 19 families that have confirmed their attendance and we look forward to sampling some delicious food at The Thatched Tavern. See you there !
Nightingales, don’t forget to have your home learning challenges in school for Monday 25th. We are really looking forward to seeing your up-cycled plant pots and posters. I wonder who will win our tracker challenge this month?
Take Away the Takeaway – March Session
This was our first family session of the project and what a session it was ! The day began with John Cross visiting the children in school and talking to them about why we should try to ditch the unhealthy take-away and how much sugar and fat could be found in these foods.
The main event took place in the evening at The Thatched Tavern in Cheapside, when 20 of our Nightingale Class families turned up for a healthy alternative to the Take-away. On the menu was Thatched Tavern Healthy Baked Chicken with baked sweet potato wedges, homemade coleslaw and homemade baked beans. The Vegetarian option was Thatched Tavern Growing Together Vegetable Curry with John’s own coconut rice and chapatis. For dessert, families enjoyed fruit sorbet. To drink families were served funky fruit punch.
On the way into the Thatched, families could see the work produced by the children for their home learning task following our Reduce, Reuse and Recycle session. A very well done goes to Abigail Slight for her brilliant upcycled plant pot holder !
All our families thoroughly enjoyed the food, the experience, the opportunity to spend time together as a family and to be part of a learning project that reaches out into the local community and beyond the school gates. We hope that the evening has inspired lots of our families to have a go at alternatives to a take away using healthier ingredients cooked together at home. Below are some of the comments that were feedback about the evening and some of our families enjoying their delicious food. Our huge thanks go to all The Staff at The Thatched Tavern for hosting a wonderful evening and to the chef for cooking such delicious food ! We couldn’t have done it without you !
……and this is what some of our children and families had to say about the evening…
“The whole family enjoyed sitting together to have dinner”
“I really liked the drink. Thank you to The Thatched Tavern”
“I liked the meal, being with friends, family and teachers from school. The drink and the ambience”
“We enjoyed trying lovely fresh produce, the fruity water and the chicken”
“We enjoyed having dinner with family and everyone from school. We all had a lovely time and the food was wonderful”
“The rice and the flat bread were yummy. I really want to eat healthily”
“I enjoyed eating as a family and the lovely food”
“I enjoyed spending time with my family without technology. This is a good thing to do!”
“We enjoyed how healthy the food was and how good it all tasted”
” A very nice idea for a family evening out with an educational component!”
“Well done to all involved. This is a great community project. Really enjoying it”
“I think this is a brilliant initiative and am really pleased to see my daughter so enthusiastic about the environment and healthy eating (even though it’s a slight uphill struggle to get her to make healthy choices) Food Miles has been an eye opener for us all, and as a family we’re interested, learning and making lots of changes. Thank you!”
For those of you who might have misplaced your recipe card, here are the recipes from this evening.
……and finally, please click on the link below for a copy of this month’s tracker sheet and home learning challenge. Good luck!
The Importance of Pollinators – April Session
What a fantastic session we had with Dr George McGavin when he came into school to talk to us about what pollinators are and why they are important to us in our every day lives. Everyone was familiar with the idea that bees are pollinators but we had no idea that there are about 20,000 species of bee in the world and that only a few of these actually make honey.
In the UK alone there are around 250 different types of bee but many of these are in decline and this is often a result of our modern habits. George talked about the importance of creating insect and bee-friendly zones in our gardens and perhaps not always making sure everything looks perfect and neat! We also learnt about the dangers of using too many pesticides. Hopefully, everyone was able to take away some of this learning and consider how we could do little things to change our own habits, maybe by planting some flowers like foxgloves or lavender.
Last month’s challenge was to try to cook up a healthy feast and there were some fantastic examples of delicious recipes that the children brought in. We are planning to collate these healthy recipes to create a book, so if you didn’t get round to bringing your recipes in – it’s not too late!
Well done to the three girls who won this month’s recipe challenge and tracker sheet. Keep up the good work everyone and see what you can manage for the next challenge and tracker.
Coming up in May... Nature Ramble – Wednesday 22nd May 2019
In May, we will be going on a nature ramble with Dr George McGavin. We are delighted that Silwood Park have given us permission to use their land and we look forward to discovering lots about nature on our ramble. One of our tasks will be to do some foraging and to collect some stinging nettles and we plan to cook nettle soup on the campfire in Forest School when we return… We will let you know how we get on !
Dr George McGavin Mr John Cross