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Malahide schoolkids grow their way to success in national competition

Third Class pupils at JPII NS in Malahide are ‘Big Grow’ Champs

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Third Class pupils at the Pope John Paul II National School in Malahide, Dublin have been announced as the GIY and innocent drinks ‘Big Grow’ Champions 2022. Pictured celebrating at the announcement and showing off their ‘green fingers’ are Sam Skehill and Robyn Leonard.

Third Class pupils at the Pope John Paul II National School in Malahide, Dublin have been announced as the GIY and innocent drinks ‘Big Grow’ Champions 2022. Pictured celebrating at the announcement and showing off their ‘green fingers’ are Sam Skehill and Robyn Leonard.

Third Class pupils at the Pope John Paul II National School in Malahide, Dublin have been announced as the GIY and innocent drinks ‘Big Grow’ Champions 2022. Pictured celebrating at the announcement and showing off their ‘green fingers’ are Sam Skehill and Robyn Leonard.

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Third Class pupils at the Pope John Paul II National School in Malahide are the innocent drinks ‘Big Grow’ Champions 2022.

The Big Grow began 11 years ago as innocent and GIY joined forces to create some new green gurus and get kids growing their own veg at school and since then they have helped over 450,000 pupils to get free growing resources in Ireland and 840,000 in the UK.

Schools all over the country took part at school in The Big Grow 2022 and some 50,000 school children learned how to grow their own food as they enjoyed having food growing kits delivered to their schools during the spring.

A former pupil of the school herself Ms Marissa Magner says that her third class pupils couldn’t get enough of growing their own once they got a taste for it.

The Malahide teacher said: “Probably one of the very few plus sides of the pandemic is that our school children now really engage with sending me updates from home via the seesaw app – they share images of growing food all of the time.

“We grew peas, radish and mixed salad leaves and we started these from scratch in the paper cups on our windowsills and then transplanted them into bigger pots and then outside.

“The growing process has inspired the children to think about the actions of caring for the plants or indeed not – asking what would happen if we planted the bulbs upside down, not water them? not give them light? etc.

“This project has really got their minds and imaginations working.”

She added: “At home, the children have also got their parents and grandparents involved and they have been planting strawberries, sweet peas and so much more.

“We are involved in the Green Schools initiative too and they are now so inspired to plant wild flowers for pollination and biodiversity.

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“The Big Grow is such a great initiative for us to get involved in; it has a lifelong learning impact on the children.

“Not everyone is sporty, and not everyone can dance, but this is so inclusive, that all of the children and families can get involved in.”

Each school that took part in The Big Grow was encouraged to share their growing experiences online to be in with a chance of being crowned The Big Grow Champs and be awarded a school garden revamp to the value of €1,000.

The runners-up in the 2022 competition are Creagh National School in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway and Nagle Rice Primary School in Ballyoughtragh North, Co. Kerry.

Presenting the award to the class, founder of GIY Michael Kelly said: “Ms Magner’s third class were hugely creative in their growing, they re-used containers, they were very ecologically conscious and they carried out lots of fun experiments along the way.

“It really was a joy to witness their enthusiasm for the project online.

“Since beginning this project with innocent we have facilitated food growing at school for children across the country through the supply of seeds, grow pots, compost and expert growing advice and tips.

“The children learned the science of growing, but they also experience the joy of growing and eating their own food.

“This was really evident in the children at Pope John Paul II’s third class.

“At GIY we call this ‘Food Empathy’ and it means that these children will now have formed a deeper connection with their food and they very much care about where it comes from.”

To learn more about ‘The Big Grow’ see innocentdrinks.ie/big-grow for more information.


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