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. Jane tailor-makes visits depending on your topic, and the time of year. She is a qualified level 3 Forest School Practitioner and has over 10 years experience as a primary school teacher and outdoor education.

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.

Images of children cooking beetroot and chocolate cakes in the Education room at Dixter Farm  Image of a gardener showing some school children vegetables

Exploring and sketching in the garden, recording bold shapes and patterns, using these to create prints using safeprint printing blocks.

Children visiting Great Dixters coppiced wood in early spring An image of the meadow at Great Dixter with buttercups and common spotted orchids.

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 of 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.

Image of an art workshop at Dixter Farm A printing block made during an education workshop at Great Dixter

Garden collage and print making 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.

Image of a wood cookie craft activity An image of children being shown how to use a fire steel around a fire in the woods at Great Dixter

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.

Visits:

All primary school visits to Great Dixter include a full day of planned activity with the Education Officer, Jane 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, Jane Wigan: [email protected] or tel: 01797 334042.