Our programmes for school visits

We have eight programmes available for Key stage 1 and Key stage 2:

Each 2-hour workshop is aimed at key stage 1 or 2 primary school children, matching the National Curriculum link

1) 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

2) Key stage 1, Year 1

Your 5 a day – Your senses

This new workshop is specifically designed to engage children in the environmental wonders of food plants. The focus will be on getting to know the structure of a plant and identifying 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.

Curriculum links



  • 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

Seasonal changes

  • Observe changes across the four seasons

3) Key Stage 1, Year 2


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 identify, name and record a variety of plants and animals. They will discover why and how plants and animals are well suited to their own individual habitats and explore the principle of simple food chains.

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.

Please note: This programme is only available during Autumn and Spring terms and is limited to one school session per day, in order to preserve our mini-beasts

4) 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 art work.

Curriculum links


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

5) 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.

 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 (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

6) 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 simple keys and making plant presses.

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

7) 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 the different flower parts in different species, working scientifically using microscopes.  The emphasis will be on sexual reproductions, exploring plant life cycles of different plants, including food plants.

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

8) 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 plant 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