A Hackney church offers its garden to Stoke Newington pupils

St Matthias School pupils like Milan thomas are learning about nature and growing food as their clas

St Matthias School pupils like Milan thomas are learning about nature and growing food as their classroom moves outdoors once a week. Picture: DissentersN16 - Credit: DissentersN16

A Stoke Newington church opened its grounds and vicarage garden to pupils at a nearby school who are using the extra space for outdoor learning, gardening and wellbeing.

Pupils Ja'Kayla Thomas, Leo Nicholls and Robert Sarfo play in the St Matthias' "huge" vicarage garde

Pupils Ja'Kayla Thomas, Leo Nicholls and Robert Sarfo play in the St Matthias' "huge" vicarage garden. Picture: DissentersN16 - Credit: DissentersN16

St Matthias Church has partnered with award-winning social enterprise the Garden Classroom on Newington Green to give schoolkids from St Matthias School weekly outdoor and nature sessions.

READ MORE: Grade I listed Stoke Newington Church St Matthias is under threat of closure and needs to raise £30,000

St Matthias Head Teacher Lucy Blewett said: “Having access to the church grounds and garden is a true blessing at a time like this.

“Many of our children have spent a significant period of time indoors and as they return to school, we are thrilled we can encourage outdoor learning for all.”

The school has been open to children of key workers and vulnerable families but is now seeing more children return to the classroom.

“This is a win-win,’” said the headteacher. “We know virus transmission rates are reduced outside, and the increase of sunshine Vitamin D is vital for children and staff.”

The church’s vicar Father David Lambert has also donated a cultivation area for pupils and, with help from the Garden Classroom, children are being taught how to grow tomatoes and sweet peas.

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Pupils are also learning about meditation and breathing techniques whilst improving their communication skills.

Father Lambert told the Gazette: “The church gates are currently locked which means we can offer the school total freedom, and it’s rewarding that there’s still a way St Matthias can benefit the community. It’s a joy seeing the excitement on children’s faces as they play outside.”

The vicar was also pleased to find out pupils will be tidying and maintaining the church grounds as part of their learning.

To find out more about the church visit https://stmchurch.co.uk/

For more information about St Matthias School click here.

Learn about The Garden Classroom by clicking here.

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