Firpark Primary School
Fairy Herb Garden - A Celebration of our NHS
As an ASN school, many of our children know more than most, just how wonderful and invaluable our NHS is. It is a lifeline for many of our families and the tireless work and dedication from the staff makes a positive difference to their lives in times of worry and stress. In recent times, Covid-19 has impacted and affected all of our lives and we have all realised just how important our NHS is for us all and how lucky we are to have it.
We have chosen to acknowledge and celebrate this wonderful work in our Pocket Garden.
From our research, we discovered that Scotland has a long folk-medicine tradition, and plant remedies were the only means of treatment in the 18th Century. Botanical remedies were passed down through the generations by word of mouth, until handwritten collections began to appear. The University of Glasgow created an early medical school, around 1704, and constructed “the Physic Garden,” a herb garden with medicinal plants. The study of plants was essential to the medical students, who learned how to distinguish between them and use them for herbal healing. They were stored in glass jars, in a beautiful carved-wood apothecary cabinet. Some plants widely used in Scotland at the time were known as “fairy herbs” for their seemingly magical powers.
With all of this in mind, we decided to try and combine some of these ideas together to create a Fairy Garden.
Firpark Primary School is an ASN school situated within a joint campus. This year we have been focusing on working collaboratively with Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary school who share our campus too.
We thought that designing and creating a Pocket Garden was a fantastic opportunity to grow and learn together. Our friends in Cathedral Primary School were delighted to help and share their ideas.
All of the plants in our garden are edible and most have been traditionally used for medicinal purposes in the past and to this day. Our fragrant herbs can be used to make delicious dishes and drinks such as tea, soups, pasta and curries. Our flowers can be used to make brightly coloured salads. All the plants and flowers can help to contribute to a healthy diet.
We used old pallets to create the garden structure with the help of a handy friend of our school community! We filled it with soil and then got to work on collecting some resources to create the magical garden. Another handy member of our staff donated a piece of spare MDF and cut it in the rainbow shape.
We reused a large plastic tub for our fairy hospital and covered it in shells that our teacher collected from the beach.
We love Outdoor Learning in Firpark School so we went on a twig hunt to find lots of twigs and sticks to make the roof for our Fairy Hospital and Wishing Well.
We recycled a plastic bottle to make a simple an irrigation system, which also references an IV drip used in hospitals.
Creating the garden has created a wealth of learning opportunities for the three P2/3 classes participating in the project.
We began by holding a shared sensory session where we talked about the theme of the garden and learned more about how plants were used as medicine long ago.
The children really enjoyed seeing and smelling some plants and herbs. They were surprised to learn that plants can be used to help with lots of different illnesses. They were particularly surprised to learn that you can in fact eat dandelions and use them to make tea!
Planning and creating the Pocket Garden provided lots of opportunities across the Curriculum for learning. Room 6b went on a shopping trip to buy some seeds, soil and other resources. We had lots of fun exploring the soil with our friends in Room 4 and together we planted lots of different seeds.
We also visited a local park and nature reserve to look for signs of spring and see if we could spot a fairy. We took along Flora the Fairy Witch to help us as she is very good friends with the Fairy Folk! Sadly we didn’t see any that day, but we had great fun looking and learning about spring.
We visited the park again later in spring to look for wild garlic. We decided not to use it in our garden as the judges advised us it would be dying back in May. It still proved to be an excellent sensory learning experience for both the pupils and teachers. We were able to identify the garlic from pictures and the smell. When we became familiar with the smell, we started to find it everywhere by following our noses!
Our friends in Cathedral Primary produced some excellent garden designs following our introductory lesson. We took all of their fantastic ideas and incorporated them into our final design.
They made our wonderful fairies for the garden and were inspired to write some awesome imaginative stories about fairies too!
The Pocket Garden Project has been a fantastic opportunity to learn across all areas of the Curriculum. From the science of how plants grow, recycling, nature, art, medicine, healthy eating, past traditions, folklore and so much more!
We hope to continue to nurture the garden and make it a permanent feature of our playground in Firpark Primary School. We also intend to begin using the herbs we have grown to make some healthy meals. Next year, we plan to work together to create another Pocket Garden for the children in Cathedral Primary to enjoy too. It has been an inspiring journey so far and we hope that we will continue grow and learn together to Keep Scotland Beautiful.
Creating the garden – from design to reality