Youngsters' veg lessons at allotment

YOUNGSTERS in Felixstowe certainly know their onions . . . and their potatoes, carrots and caulis, too.For first year children at Maidstone Road Infants School get hands-on experience at growing vegetables as part of their lessons, and are learning lots about where there food comes from.

YOUNGSTERS in Felixstowe certainly know their onions . . . and their potatoes, carrots and caulis, too.

For first year children at Maidstone Road Infants School get hands-on experience at growing vegetables as part of their lessons, and are learning lots about where there food comes from.

Each fortnight, 60 of the five-year-olds spend time at an allotment in Langley Avenue with keen gardener David Cole.

Mr Cole said: “It's true that when I first went into a classroom and asked where their potatoes, beans, carrots and so on came from, lots of them said Tesco!

“They know differently now, though.”

Mr Cole, 59, first came across the children when he was tending his allotment and saw teachers showing a group of children plants in the ground at the edge of the site.

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He went across and asked if they would like to have a close-up look at his plot and from there a friendship and link with the school - where his two grandsons attend - began to grow.

He regularly goes in to help in lessons and takes an assembly every year.

“I go into class in February and we look at seeds and I do some sketches on the board showing what the plants will eventually look like,” said Mr Cole, of Cricket Hill Road, Felixstowe.

“Then they pot up the runner bean and broad bean seeds. Later when they come to the allotment they get to plant out the seeds they have grown.

“They absolutely love it and it's wonderful to see them really learning about plants and where their food comes from and actually seeing it for real, seeing the vegetables grow.

“One little girl went home insisting to her mum that she should have fresh carrots every day, and I recall another little girl being absolutely astounded that potatoes came out of the ground.

“They also learn about insect life - caterpillars, ladybirds, slugs and so on - and I hope it helps them enjoy and understand the outdoors.”

Mr Cole has been working with the children at the allotment for four years and his employers, forklift engineering specialist Briggs UK, give him time off to do it.

Headteacher Lizzie Girling said: “The children love going to the allotment and really look forward to it - this week they were thrilled and came back talking about giant onions and different sorts of carrots which were red, yellow and orange.

“It is a great experience for them and brings what they learn in the classroom alive and makes it relevant.

“It's important, too, as a school to have links like this with the community.”

Do you think it is important children know where food really comes from? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Benefits of healthy veg

Scientific studies have shown that people who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables may have a lower risk of getting illnesses, such as heart disease and some cancers

It is recommend that you eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day - and it doesn't matter whether they are fresh, tinned, frozen, cooked, juiced or dried

Vitamins aren't the only nutrients to be gained from fruit and vegetables. Minerals also have an important role to play in your good health

Eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables means you are more likely to get all the vitamins and minerals you need

Source: bbc.co.uk

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