Our programmes for school visits
We currently have eight programmes available for Reception, Key stage 1 and Key stage 2:
NB Programmes 6, 7 and 8 are free of charge, but of course we always welcome donations!
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
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.
• 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
To use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination
3) 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.
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
4) 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.
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
5) 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.
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 currently offering a range of new exciting school programmes on the subject, ‘Botany on Your Plate’.
Each 2-hour workshop is aimed at key stage 1 or 2 primary school children, matching the National Curriculum science link and is currently free of charge.
6) Key stage 1, Year 1
Your 5 a day – Your senses
This new workshop is specifically designed to explore and engage children in the environmental wonders of food plants. The focus will be on getting to know and identify a variety of common food plants and their edible parts. There will be an emphasis on seasonal changes and availability of fruit and vegetables and understanding the importance of healthy eating.
Children will discover edible plants in a fun and playful way by using their senses. Activities will range from food touching to smelling quizzes and much more. Furthermore, children will also have the opportunity to work scientifically using microscopes, investigating a range of plant material.
- Identify and name a variety of wild and garden plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees.
- Identify and describe the basic structure of a variety of common flowering plants, including 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
- Observe changes across the four seasons
7) Key Stage 1, Year 2
How does our food grow?
Children will discover the importance of plants and how we depend on plants as a source of food. They will explore our botanical garden and will discover the huge range of food plants which grow all around us, investigating the requirements of plants to grow well and how they are able to reproduce. All of the activities will be interactive and hands on and will include using microscopes and creating their own art work.
Curriculum links Science Plants • 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
8) Key Stage 2, Year 3
The amazing world of food plants
During this session, children will have the opportunity to explore an exciting variety of food plants, which grow in our beautiful botanical garden, raising awareness about where much of our everyday food comes from. They will observe pollinators and discover the importance they play in plant reproduction and ultimately food production. Children will scavenge for a range of plant material, making it a fun outdoor experience.
A hands-on microscope session will allow children to explore and identify different parts of a flower, understanding the science of botany and taking a closer look at seeds and the flowers’ fascinating seed dispersal mechanisms.
- 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 (air, light, water, nutrients from soil, and room to grow) 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