Wild Flowers For Schools
The National School Curriculum for England asks that children are taught to learn about living things as an important part of their educational development.
A small area of wild flower meadow can be used to demonstrate a number of concepts to most keystage levels by providing
- A hands-on experience of nature, eco-systems and wildlife
- Rich and imaginative learning opportunities
- A peaceful zone for calming and focusing lively children
- AND it can reduce your grounds maintenance costs
How To Use A Wildflower Meadow In The Curriculum
Some aspects of the science curriculum are easily met by exploring and examining wild flower meadows
Study and compare living things: There are a myriad of different plant species in a wild flower meadow all with different growth habits. A wildflower meadow will attract insects and minibeasts too, especially if you install bird feeders and insect hotels nearby.
Describe the basic structure of plants. Plenty of opportunities to look at petals, sepals, seed pods, leaves, stems and roots. As well as the chance for older children to study the differences between wind pollinated plants (ie grasses) and insect pollinated plants (flowers).
Identify and name wild plants. Plenty of adults struggle to name wild plants so having a wildflower meadow as a resource allows parents, teachers and children to visit regularly and keep refreshing their knowledge.
Observe seasonal changes. Trees are not the only natural things that change with the seasons. A perennial wild flower meadow allows children to observe strong growth in spring, flowering in summer, seed formation in autumn and dormancy in winter.
Learn about living things and their habitats. The advantage of a traditionally managed wildflower meadow is that it provides habitat for a wide variety of creatures. Introduce a log pile, some stones for thrushes to use as anvils, a bug hotel and a small pool and your pupils will have plenty of examples of habitats and microhabitats to learn about.
Demonstrate seed dispersal. A wildflower meadow created with Meadowmat wild flower matting will contain plants from different families. There are some that produce seeds in pods, some that have fluffy, wind-dispersed seeds and some that prefer to have birds carry their seeds to other sites. Plenty to for students to observe, compare and understand.
Maintaining A Wildflower Meadow Is Cost Effective And Convenient
An established wildflower meadow needs very little maintenance, and any major work can be done during the summer holidays.
Once your wildflower meadow has a good coverage of strong, healthy, desirable plants the maintenance regime is simple. Allow the plants to grow freely during the spring and summer terms. Cut the growth back during the summer holidays and then mow occasionally during autumn term. It’s important to remove all of the clippings every time the meadow is cut.
By using wildflower turf to create your meadow, you’ll have very few problems with weeds or undesirable plants. That means that you’ll not need to apply chemical herbicides or pesticides. The advantages of this are obvious.