The butterfly effect

Pupils, staff and parents at All Saints First School in Morpeth by their newly created butterfly garden with Alex MacDonald from Dobbies who helped with the equipment.
Pupils, staff and parents at All Saints First School in Morpeth by their newly created butterfly garden with Alex MacDonald from Dobbies who helped with the equipment.
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A MORPETH school is all-a-flutter after its green-fingered pupils teamed up with a North East garden centre.

All Saints First School in Lancaster Park has created a beautiful butterfly garden to enhance youngsters’ outdoor learning.

The project came about after the school applied for a grant from Dobbies Garden World in Ponteland and secured £500.

Children were then invited along to look at the various plants and features available and came away with plants, stones, soil and equipment.

Teacher Laura Ritson, who led the project with her colleague Jo Roberts, said: “We applied for a grant to do something to develop our outdoor area and support the children’s learning and encourage learning outdoors.

“The children in school researched which plants would encourage butterflies and then we ran a competition to find a winning design.”

Pupil Xander Beveridge came up with the winning idea, but although the funding was secured early this year, poor weather meant delays to the start of work on site.

Finally, teachers, parents and children were able to put the plans into action, working together at weekends and after school over a few weeks to create the garden.

Ms Ritson said: “Once we had the design and the weather cleared up, it only took about two weeks to do.

“The whole idea was to get a garden that would encourage butterflies so we ‘grew’ our own butterflies in the classroom. We got some caterpillars and watched them develop, then released them into the garden. The children loved it.

“We now have a beautiful outdoor learning area and we have had all the classes outside to enjoy it.

“It is quite a reflective area for the children to go and it really encourages outdoor learning. It is such a nice place to work with the children.”

However, despite making the most of the new garden area, the school has not finished with the plot and is keen to develop its outdoor spaces even more.

Teachers are working on several ideas, including helping pupils to grow their own food.

“We are hoping to extend the area to have a pizza garden,” said Ms Ritson.

“It would be shaped like a pizza and all the sections would be filled with herbs and other edible plants, and perhaps there could be some vegetables.

“We would also like to get some benches and hopefully willow as well.

“It is a long-term project for the overall space, but at the moment it is great to have the butterfly garden and we are grateful to Dobbies for the funding.”