Learning a way of life
 Baw Baw News   By // 18:36, Friday 30 October 2015

nilma primary school garden gardivalia 2015 warragul baw baw citizen by william pj kulich

LOCAL LIVING // STUDENTS at Nilma Primary have been learning how to grow, cook and live healthily.

Above: Nilma Primary students Daniel Axford, Ella Perry, Kiara Perry and Beth Axford in the school's garden last weekend with kid-grown seeds and seedlings. Photo: William PJ Kulich. PRN:01062

The school’s garden was put on display last Saturday as part of the Gardivalia Festival of Gardens while students sold seeds they had harvested in hand made and coloured seed packets.


“The grade three/four participate in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, which means every week they’re either in the kitchen or in the garden,” teacher Jessie McLennan told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.

“Gardivalia is keen to get schools involved. We were hoping other schools [would] come along and have a look at our garden, and they have; we’ve had a teacher from Ripplebrook and another from Toongabbie.

“Knowing that we’ve been involved this year, I think next year there will be more schools.”

School principal Annette Sutherland said the students drove the program.


“When we originally started, even prior to the Stepahanie Alexander… program, the children have been a massive influence,” she told WBBC.

“They’re the ones who have ownership over this program, right from the design of the garden to actually getting in there and building it.

“It’s not locked away, it’s actually an area in our school that’s quiet where you can sit in the garden, eat out of the garden at any point in time, so they’re actually at one with nature.”

Students fertilise and water the garden, look after chickens and feed worms, and pick and cook with the produce they grow.

“We’re a sustainable school, so we have our water, our solar panels, we compost, we have the worm farm, so it’s actually trying to teach them a way of life,” Ms Sutherland said.

“Jess and I, our homes are pretty much self sustainable too. It’s not [just] something healthy, it’s a natural way of life.”

Ms McLennan said students involved in the program have set up gardens at home and kept her up to date with their progress.

“It’s inspiring to teach,” she said.


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