Seedlings at Schools: learning new skills through tree planting
The tree planting season is well under way and I have been working in many different schools in North and West Yorkshire and with lots of different year groups to plant native trees in their school grounds.
My sessions with the schools vary slightly depending on the age of the children, but I always like to give the children some responsibility about planting their tree, using the tools and working together collaboratively.
It has been great to see pupils who have not done much outside practical work have a go at digging a hole or using a hammer to knock a wooden post into the ground. The look of satisfaction when they have worked together to plant a tree which will be in their school for years to come is one of the highpoints of this job.
As well as learning about how to plant a tree, we talk about how to use the tools safely and properly and about looking after them when they are not in use. It is always interesting at the end of the session to make sure we have all the tools we started with and haven’t left any hiding in the undergrowth. There is usually one trowel missing and we all need to retrace our steps to find the one that is hiding under the grass!
Working in groups and listening to each other is another skill we try to develop when planting trees because everyone gets a chance to use each tool and do each part of planting a tree. In some schools the older children have helped the younger ones to plant trees and this has been a good way for different age groups to work together.
There is more to tree planting than just digging a hole and putting it in the ground and there are many skills developed as we slowly green the school environment.
The Seedlings at Schools project is part of Bettys ongoing Trees for Life work. Ian Johnson, Education Officer at Groundwork, has been busy teaching children about the importance of trees through hands-on woodland themed activities.