independent

Thursday 20 June 2019

St Aidan's pupils are national champions

Pictured are the Big Grow competition winning pupils from Andrew Foley’s class at St Aidan’s Primary School in Enniscorthy: Conor Larkin, Emily Daly, Alteo Pecaku, Phoebe Redmond, Salsabil Ramadan, Ruairí Cullen Keane, Joshua Flynn, Lucy Stafford, Rhys Greig, Tegan Quinn, Angelina McCarthy, and Aleksandra Mitrollari
Pictured are the Big Grow competition winning pupils from Andrew Foley’s class at St Aidan’s Primary School in Enniscorthy: Conor Larkin, Emily Daly, Alteo Pecaku, Phoebe Redmond, Salsabil Ramadan, Ruairí Cullen Keane, Joshua Flynn, Lucy Stafford, Rhys Greig, Tegan Quinn, Angelina McCarthy, and Aleksandra Mitrollari

Brendan Keane

Students from St Aidan's National School in Enniscorthy have been crowned the GIY and Innocent drinks 'Big Grow' Champions 2019.

Teacher, Andrew Foley's senior infant class were presented with their award at this year's Bloom festival.

It was a remarkable achievement for the pupils as over 56,000 children from all over the country entered the competition.

The aim of the competition is to enable primary school children to grow their own food in their classrooms.

Speaking about the win Mr Foley complimented the children in his class who he said got really involved in the competition.

'The boys and girls in my senior infant class really engaged with this initiative, taking care of the plants, [and] rushing in to make sure the soil was moist enough,' he said.

Mr Foley said they learned a lot from their experience this year.

'You can tell, read, or show a child where vegetables come from but growing [them] themselves is the only way to actually grasp the concept,' he said.

Mr Foley said some of the children were shocked when he ate a stem of cress straight from the pot but they were happy to try their own cress and pea shoots when they were ready.

Such was the enthusiasm of one pupil that he managed to eat all of his cress walking from the classroom to the main door so he nothing left in his pot to show his father when he was collected at home time.

One girl brought her cress back in as it had grown twice as tall as when it left the school and had begun to flower - teaching the children and Mr Foley that cress can flower.

This was the children's first edible growing project and Mr Foley said they were surprised that they could eat something that grows from seed as they have only seen flowers grow up until then.

He said it would good for the children to do a longer term growth project to try and develop a more substantial edible plant as they go through their future school classes.

'I will definitely continue to grow seeds yearly as it is an invaluable learning tool for senior Infants,' he said.

Principal, Frank Murphy, complimented the children on their accolade and he praised them for the manner with which they embraced the project.

Presenting the award to the class at Bloom, founder of GIY, Michael Kelly, said the 21 pupils from St Aidan's 'demonstrated brilliant engagement with the project'.

'From the very beginning their enthusiasm for growing their own food was evident through the posts and content the class shared on their grow wall,' he said.

Laura O'Connell, Digital and Communities Manager at innocent drinks Ireland said: 'Seeing and hearing all the positive effects that growing in the classroom has on school kids is something really special.'

Enniscorthy Guardian

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