St Vincent’s School for the Visually Impaired
Throughout the 2018/19 academic year, students have been working towards level 5 of the RHS School Gardening award as part of their enriched and project-based learning curriculum. School is currently at Level 4.
Outcomes throughout the year were to:
Improve physical and mental well-being
Develop life skills such as confidence, teamwork and communication
Enhance literacy, numeracy and communication skills
Enrich the whole curriculum
Encourage healthier lifestyles
Teach the UNSDG’s and sustainability
Encourage a sense of responsibility
Improve employability skills.
The following pages are not an exhausted list, but highlight just some of the key activities throughout the academic year. More information and impact images can be found on the school website www.stvin.com and Twitter @StVincentsL12.
Target outcomes for 2019/20
Achieve RHS level 5
Continue to embed horticulture across the school curriculum
Explore work-related and supported internship opportunities within horticulture
Engage in further projects including the Big Soup challenge and involve the wider VI community
Plan, design and enter RHS Tatton Park flower show. Demonstration VI skills across our enriched curriculum including horticulture, ceramics, glass and willow.
Congratulations to the Grow Wild Enrichment Group who have successfully achieved Level 5 of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.
St Vincent's Gardner of the Year Award 2020
Abyan quickly developed a keen interest in gardening-related activities as part of the schools enrichment curriculum. As a specialist school for blind and visually impaired students, St Vincent’s School offers a wide range of activities to students – horticulture being one of many.
The ‘Grow Wild’ group meet every Wednesday to manage their own allotment space, greenhouse and Poly Tunnel – growing whatever they can put their hands to!
As a visually impaired student, he has learnt quickly to adapt his gardening knowledge to best meet his needs and desired outcomes. For example, as he worked through the RHS School Gardening awards, many of the activities that were tailored to visual users, he had to adapt.
Simple tasks such as digging and H&S were avoided, and instead he learnt the values of not digging, soil health and planting using the safest methods. When sowing seeds such as onion, given their size and colour he has had to learn about adopting methods on pinch sowing or multi-sowing in order for himself and peers to measure growth and harvest more easily. Many tasks that sighted users may find straightforward, Abyan has learnt to approach as a visually impaired student – making his experiences as realistic as possible.
He attends gardening enrichment every week, and is always eager to learn about plants and vegetables, how they can be grown and the benefits this has for the environment. He has particularly enjoyed growing his own potatoes, carrots and peas.
Alongside encouraging and sharing the benefits of gardening with his peers in school, Abyan has also been able to use the produce he has grown to share soup, free at local community ParkRuns. Being a visually
impaired student, statistics of friendship groups stand at 4-6 less than his sighted peers – therefore – such activities not only help his physical and mental wellbeing, but also increase his opportunities to meet new people.
Abyan loves bugs! And within school has enjoyed going on worm hunts and creating his own bug hotels and wildflower spaces – all awareness for the environment and biodiversity. He has also learnt that being sustainable in his growing techniques in the long-term can benefit the environment by helping reduce the use of plastic etc.
Gardening has enable Abyan to increase his confidence in the outdoors, and gain a real sense of achievement and ownership in the produce he grows. Being able to share his developing knowledge in gardening with his peers, staff and wider community enables him to be more confident in key related skills such as mobility and independence, communication and interaction with others’.