New Edible Playgrounds are now part of the curriculum at select schools in Newcastle and North London. The vibrant outdoor teaching gardens aim to connect children with nature and educate them about growing their own fruit and vegetables to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Funded by Clear Channel and built by Trees for Cities, each Edible Playground is unique and designed to address the learning objectives and challenges of the school it serves. The outdoor learning spaces supplement the normal curriculum and include assets targeted towards all age groups within the school, allowing teachers to immerse the playgrounds into their curriculums, ultimately bolstering maths, science, spelling, and art lessons.
Clear Channel and Trees for Cities long-term partnership began in 2016 when the Out of Home media and infrastructure company funded street tree planting to help return greenery to city streets and create healthier communities for residents. Since then, the partnership has expanded to include Edible Playgrounds in five primary schools in Newcastle and two additional primary schools in Haringey.
The Edible Playgrounds were funded by Clear Channel as part of advertising concessions with Newcastle City Council and Haringey London Borough Council, both of which return a sizeable revenue share to the councils for re-investment in public services.
Inspired by data linking childhood obesity, housing density, and lack of access to green spaces within urban environments, Edible Playgrounds provide a sustainable approach to tackling these issues. By taking learning outdoors, children are provided with opportunities for increased physical activity and improved motor skill development whilst also instilling healthy habits in students as they prepare and grow their own fruits and vegetables. Teachers also benefit from spending time outdoors which reduces stress, fatigue, anxiety, and depression thereby improving overall wellbeing.
Craig Heeley, Headteacher at Lemington Riverside Primary School in Newcastle says, “Located in the urban outer west of Newcastle, our school was constructed in the Georgian era, with terraced rows flanking each perimeter. Our Edible Playground provides a green oasis at the heart of our school where children can learn valuable life skills.”
Karen Rankin, Clear Channel’s Director of Council and Corporate Partnerships says: “The expansion of Edible Playgrounds outside Newcastle to London proves just how crucial it is to teach the next generation how to properly take care of themselves and the environment. Working with Trees for Cities to deliver this innovative new programme, that’s also sustainable, whilst making a long-lasting positive impact on children within local communities is something we’re extremely proud of.”