Key Stage 2
Great Dixter is a fantastic place for a school trip. Most visits incorporate a trip to the garden and the woods where there will be time for child-led play. Catherine tailor-makes visits depending on your topic, and the time of year. She is a qualified level 3 Forest School Practitioner, has over 12 years experience working in environmental education and has a degree in Ecology.
Experiences can include:
Using vegetables to think about parts of a plant, their purpose and the ingredients and conditions that are necessary for healthy plant growth. Cooking using vegetables grown in the teaching garden and a seed planting session. Discovering how the plants in the garden at Great Dixter make their seeds- from beautiful blooms to sneezy conifer pollen and grasses- and how seeds disperse away from their parents to have all the resources they need to germinate and survive.
Exploring and sketching in the garden, recording bold shapes and patterns, using these to create prints using safeprint printing blocks.
Using the rich and diverse habitats available at Great Dixter including our ancient coppiced woodland, dipping pond and rich biodiverse meadow, to investigate and compare a range of local habitats, identifying, recording and grouping the plants and animals present. Use of keys for identification, exploring food chains and adaptations.
Depending on the age off the group we can also conduct a scientific investigation using quadrats to record the affect of tree cover on the abundance and diversity of ground flora in 2 different habitats (meadow and deciduous woodland), where the children will be able to work scientifically forming a prediction, collecting evidence (including identifying plants and estimating % cover) to draw conclusions.
Garden collage and print making- working with Hastings artist Hazel Brook, sketching around the garden, looking closely at insects, plant forms and birds as well as collecting other information including colours shapes, forms, movement, scale, textures scents and smells, as well as words and ideas from the garden. Children will use the information collected from the garden to create insects, birds and plant designs on card. The children will be encouraged to cut and rearrange the card cutouts and use natural objects to add to the piece creating a printing block. They will then use their printing block to experiment by creating prints and rubbings on a range of materials using Brusho dyes and crayons.
Exploring Great Dixter’s ancient coppiced woodland through a range of different practical activities. The group will have a go at firelighting, use small hand tools to create a name badge, have a chance to cook over the fire and play a whole range of sensory games. Shelter building session, introduced by a story to get imaginations fired up, plus some time for the children to explore the woods undirected.
Visits to our historic Great Barn (one of the most important and largest Medieval barns in Sussex) and oast house and see some of the traditional coppice crafts that are practiced on site, including hurdle and ladder making, and find out about how an oast works.
Searching the garden for natural seed pods, plant forms and other inspiration the children will collect natural objects and make a simple design. Using this they will create a Dixter inspired plaque using plaster of Paris, and found materials from the garden. With plenty of scope for imagination, discussion and experiment, this session is the perfect way to creatively explore Great Dixter, led by Hastings artist Hazel Brook.
All primary school visits to Great Dixter include a full day of planned activity with the Education Officer, Catherine as well as use of the education room at Dixter Farm for lunch and as part of planned activities. As the garden is small, visits are usually limited to a maximum of one class per day, unless the garden is closed or a bespoke day has been planned.
Visits to Great Dixter cost between £6-£9 depending on the resources required. Accompanying adults are free of charge.
To book a visit or discuss your group’s needs, please contact Education Officer, Catherine Haydock: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01797 254048.