The arrival of Autumn brings with it the opportunity to reflect on the waning Summer and prepare for the Winter days ahead. This week I have been pondering on our Family Saturday workshops, which drew to a close in August... writes Ciara Wilkinson.
With the funding awarded to us by Islington Giving we were able to welcome over 40 new families to the Skip Garden. For the first time (and there have been many ‘firsts’ this summer) we were able to offer workshops specifically aimed at parents with children under the age of five.
Every Saturday spanning the three months of Summer we opened our greenhouse doors from 10am to 1pm to families living throughout Islington for a full morning of cooking, craft and gardening activities. A typical morning ran three stations simultaneously, allowing children to drift in and out at will. We quickly learned that a large range of tasks spread across the whole of the garden was one of the ‘golden rules’ of working with children of such a young age. But that’s not all we learnt…
The Family Saturday sessions had been developed to encourage and strengthen the bond between parents and their youngest child, concluding in a feast of the food created with the help of all those attending the session. And what a treat it was! Despite our cafe being open, we regularly had visitors to the garden asking if they could join the meal - which the children could proudly say they had prepared with our Community Chefs Vero and Sadhbh.
Though designed to offer an opportunity for young families to spend a few quality hours together, in an active, enjoyable and educational atmosphere, the whole Global Generation team gained just as much from the experience as the families.
It’s been a fantastic learning curve for us all, including Vero, Sadhbh, Hannah, Rod and Jemma. Working almost daily with young people we might have felt well versed in working with children, but we quickly learnt that the ‘Under 5’s’ would be a new adventure for all of us.
From talking to parents we were able to learn the specific cognitive needs of the little ones, as well as learning about their seemingly short attention spans (unless we were watering the garden that is!)
It was a first in many respects, but definitely not a last.
In fact, in November we’ll be running three one-off themed workshops for those of you who may have missed out on the activities this Summer.
To attend and be kept informed about future early years activities at the garden feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org