Can kids keep bees?

They’re not exactly the most usual school pet, requiring considerable knowledge and skills, some specialist equipment, not to mention the careful handling – but the learning opportunities are as bountiful and delectable as the honey!

Wyberton Primary Academy near Boston shows us how it’s done, with a little help from Willoughby Road Allotment Association.

The School Bee Keepers

Year five – Mrs Hodgson’s class – is the school beekeeping class.

This allows all the children to have their turn at this very special experience as they grow through the school. 

There’s also an after school bee club for those who just can’t get enough of it during curriculum hours!

Children wearing bee keeping protective equipment

Because the school has this very rich educational resource right on site, teaching and learning about bees is threaded throughout their curriculum and school life – from the biology of flowers to the sale of their very own honey at school fairs.

You can also buy Wyberton’s school honey at the local co-op – food miles don’t even come into it!

The bees have been on the site and in the curriculum for five years, and they have become part of the life of the school.

Can Kids Grow Food?

But that is not all: whereas school vegetable gardens can be notoriously short lived and over-reliant on a few volunteers, Wyberton’s school garden is becoming similarly embedded in school life.

school vegetable garden

The year two class have four vegetable beds. This small growing project has partnered with Willoughby Road allotment association, who have provided them with plug plants and seeds, and invited the class for visits to their allotment site.

It is a real asset to have Willoughby allotments nearby – they’re a particularly family- and community oriented allotment association, with accessible toilets on site, plenty of smaller plots available – because “everyone’s lives are different” – lots of support to those new to growing, and an enthusiasm to work with local schools.

“We want children to appreciate where their food comes from – from the ground, and not just a shelf in Asda. It’s gone down really well. The children go home and tell their parents about it!”

Paul Collingwood, Willoughby Road Allotment Association
Child filling plant pots with compost
child watering plants
Children around school vegetable beds

The children have contributed to Boston in Bloom, as well as grown their own veggies, and there’s also an after-school gardening club (soon to be re-started following a pause due to Covid restrictions).

The school’s successful growing space and pioneering beekeeping has been driven by the passion and dedication of teachers, with help from the local allotment association. 

Wyberton is a shining example of how growing in school can be done – and done well in the long term – when it is integrated with the curriculum.

Happy smiling children in school garden

Has your school succeeded in embedding healthy food growing into the lives of school children? Please get in touch – we’d love to hear about it!

There’s also some excellent support available, including the Soil Association’s Food for Life programme. It’s currently £199+VAT for your first year – and you can expect a £3 social ROI on every pound spent; and by the way, Food for Life Schools are twice as likely to be rated Outstanding. Get in touch if you’d like a 10% discount code for the scheme.

More Lincolnshire Food news from our blog:

Three High Street Bakers

Most of us in Lincolnshire, most of the time, consume uniform baked products, produced on an industrial scale by workers we will never meet. But it’s not the only choice available to us. We went to meet three highly skilled and passionate bakers, who are baking fresh each day on Lincoln High Street. It’s a […]

Market gardeners

Fringe Farming

For fruit and vegetable crops – I’m talking the 7-a-day stuff that most of us need way more of in our diets – it’s a completely different story. 

Just a few acres, with polytunnels or glasshouses require constant tending, and can employ numerous people doing skilled, interesting, rewarding, socially useful jobs. 

Fruit and vegetables don’t necessarily need much processing before they reach our plates. We want to eat them fresh – the fresher the better! 

It would make sense, then, that the most labour intensive, perishable, unprocessed foods are grown in close proximity to urban areas.

We Won Bronze!

Greater Lincolnshire has become the latest place to win a prestigious Sustainable Food Places award. The award recognises Greater Lincolnshire Food Partnership’s work to promote healthy, sustainable and local food and to tackle some of today’s greatest social challenges, from food poverty and diet-related ill-health to the disappearance of family farms and the loss of […]

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