Our programmes for school visits

We currently have nine programmes available for Reception, Key stage 1 and Key stage 2:

1) Reception: Ages 4 – 5
Round and round it goes: Plant life cycles

Children discover in a playful way the fascinating world of plants and their life cycle. They observe that seeds produce more plants, they are encouraged to look at the variety of shapes and colours nature has to offer and how plants change over time.  The session includes a plant scavenger hunt through our garden using magnifying glasses, and in addition the children will be ‘greeted’ by our friendly pond creatures (including our frogs). Children are engaged in art and hands-on activities, including seed sowing, exploring a range of materials and expressing themselves through music, singing and drama activities.

Early learning goals
Listening and attention
Children listen attentively in a range of situations
Children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events
Children express themselves effectively
Specific areas
Understanding the world

2) Key stage 1, Year 1

Getting to know your plants throughout the season

Explore our botanical garden all year around, and discover and name a variety of common wild and garden plants. Children will use their observational skills to learn how to identify plants, by looking and comparing the basic structures of plants using magnifying glasses and grouping them together. As well as working scientifically, children will also have a chance to express themselves creatively by producing a piece of plant based art work.
Curriculum Links
• Identify and describe the basic structure of a variety of common flowering plants, including trees
• Identify and name a variety of common wild and garden plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees
• Observe changes across the four seasons

Art& Design
To use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination

3) Key stage 1, Year 1

Healing herbs in wartime

Children are invited to explore and discover a Victorian House with its botanical garden right on the doorstep of Tulse Hill.  The focus of this programme is on a variety of common wild and garden plants and their particular usage throughout history. Children will learn how many plants are used for particular parts of the body and will also make their own simple plant remedy. This topic can be set against a variety of historical contexts such as, for example, how herbs were used during war time i.e. Mary Seacole and the Crimean War, Second World war or any other historical events.
Curriculum Links
Identify and name a variety of common wild and garden plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees
Animals, including Humans
Identify, name, draw and label the basic parts of the human body and say which part of the body is associated with each sense
Significant historical people and places in their own locality

4) Key stage 1, Year 2

How does a plant grow?

Children will take a closer look at how plants grow and will take a more scientific approach to look at different plant parts, using microscopes and dissecting a flower. They will explore our botanical garden and will discover the huge range  of plants which grow all around us and learn about the needs plants have to germinate and to grow well in order to be able to reproduce. Children will be engaged in a variety of hands on activities, including creating their own art work.

Curriculum links
• Observe and describe how seeds and bulbs grow into mature plants
• Find out and describe how plants need water, light and a suitable temperature to grow and stay healthy

5) Key stage 1, Year 2

Habitats and food chains

From compost heaps to log piles and the ever popular pond, our SLBI garden has a range of habitats, including microhabitats, for children to explore and enjoy. Children will learn how to name and identify a variety of plants and animals. They will discover to why and how plants and animals are well suited to their own individual habitats and explore the principle of simple food chains.

NB This topic is only available in late Spring/early Summer.  One booking per day only to protect the wildlife and little creatures in our garden.
Curriculum links
Living things and their habitats
• Identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and habitats provide basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants and how they depend on each other
• Identify and name a variety of plants and animals in their habitats, including microhabitats
• Describe how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals, using the idea of a simple food chain and identify and name different sources of food

6) Key stage 2, Year 3

The amazing world of plants

Children will discover the amazing world of flowering plants: Plants can make their own food! What do plants need to grow and live? Why do insects visit flowers? During this session children will have the opportunity to explore the intriguing variety of plants in our beautiful botanical garden, observe pollinators and scavenge for plant material, making it a memorable outdoor experience. A hands-on microscope session will allow children to explore and identify different parts of a flower, in addition to taking a closer look at seeds and the flowers’ fascinating seed dispersal mechanisms.
Curriculum links
• Identify and describe the functions of different parts of flowering plants: roots, stem/trunk, leaves and flowers
• Explore the requirements of plants for life and growth and how they vary from plant to plant
• Explore the part that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants, including pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal

7) Key stage 2, Year 4

Unlock the plant world

Children will be following in the footsteps of the botanist, Allan Octavian Hume, and will explore the intriguing world of plant classification. There is no better place to come and learn about the huge variety of plants, with a herbarium and beautiful botanic garden for immediate access by the children. During this programme the focus will be on close observation of plant characteristics, grouping and identifying a wide selection of plants, using and making simple keys.

Children will have the opportunity to explore a range of habitats in our botanic garden and investigate how seasonality and humans have an impact on different habitats.

Curriculum links
Living things and their habitats 
  • Recognise that living things can be grouped in a number of ways
  • Explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment
  • Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things

8) Key Stage 2, Year 5

From seed to seed:  The fascinating world of plant reproduction

This topic embraces the intriguing processes of plant reproduction, both sexual and asexual.  Children will have the opportunity to collect plant material from our botanical garden and then observe and compare.  They will explore life cycles of different plants through hands-on activities and will discover how some plants reproduce vegetatively.

Curriculum links

Living things and their habitats
  • Describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals
  • Recognise different types of reproduction, i.e. sexual and asexual

9) Key Stage 2, Year 6

Plants have families too

This programme will provide children with the unique opportunity to gain insight into Allan Octavian Hume’s personal historic herbarium, founded at the South London Botanical Institute in 1910.

Children will have the chance to discover the fascinating world of plant classification, learn about the great work of Hume and also the significance of Carl Linnaeus. They will have the opportunity to study some of Hume’s original herbarium specimens, some of which are over 100 years old. During the visit they will explore our botanic garden, use a flower press and create their own herbarium sheet. This session is about encouraging children to study plant names and their habitats and how to classify them.

Curriculum links
Living things and their habitats
  • Give reasons for classifying plants  based on specific characteristics
  • Describe how plants are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences

New:  ‘Botany on Your Plate’

Thanks to funding from the City Bridge Trust, we are going to be offering a new exciting school programme on the subject of ‘Botany on Your Plate’. Details to follow.