From little things big things grow

Daceyville Public School’s award-winning gardens have captured the imagination of students and the community. Glenn Cullen reports.

Students gardening. Students gardening.
Image: Daceyville Public students working in the school's Harmony Garden.

What started as a small garden at Daceyville Public School has turned into a whole-of-school and community project that has now been recognised with a state award.

Daceyville Public was the overall winner in the ‘Grow it Local’ competition, an initiative supported by councils across the state to get Australians growing, eating, and sharing more local produce.

From humble beginnings, the garden has become part of the school’s DNA, with weekly visits by an external gardener and the entire school population involved in its upkeep.

Principal Sally Ann Mullane said there were multiple fruit and vegetable gardens and even a chicken coop, with concerted efforts to work with the local community through the school’s ‘Harmony Garden’.

“The original idea was that we’d be growing food that may not be readily available for cultural cooking,” she said.

“That came from students doing a lot of project-based learning research about where our families backgrounds are and what sort of foods like they to cook and eat and what they find difficult to source when they are cooking.”

Some exotic plants and herbs have been planted, such as Greek stevia, Thai basil, and Vietnamese mint, as well as vegetables such as okra and chillis.

The garden also reflects the cultural diversity of the area. There are tamarillos, feijoas and mulberry buses, as well as olives and pomegranates.

“We do try to plant seasonally and rotate crops to increase our yield and quality,” Ms Mullane said.

“At the moment, we've got loads of eggplants, which are very popular with the community.”

The students not only tend to the garden but harvest and prepare food to be promoted online through Facebook. Community members can then pick up produce for free on their way to and from school.

Outdoor learning is a major component of Daceyville Public School’s learning programs and helps the students with problem-solving and understanding sustainable practices, while keeping them physically active.

“We want to enhance teaching and learning programs and keep students engaged with the outdoors,” Ms Mullane said.

“The research tells us when students are involved in quality outdoor learning that their engagement level increases and there are spill-on affects to other areas of learning.”

Students holding fruit. Students holding fruit.
Image: The produce grown in the school's garden is shared with the community.

Happy World Environment Day

Students and staff at Wollongong Public School are growing a greener future through sustainable practices and teamwork.

  • News
Return to top of page Back to top