Pupils in Dubai learn to apply classroom theories to the real world – through the school garden. And the fruit and vegetables grown help to promote healthy eating. DUBAI // Schoolchildren across the emirate are learning how to nurture plants and vegetables by applying what they are taught in the classroom.

Growing everything from potatoes and marrow to tomatoes and cabbage, pupils in dozens of schools are finding out how the science on the blackboard can be used in the real world. And with much of what is grown going back to the school dinner hall, they are also developing a taste for healthy eating. Following the example of similar projects in the US and UK, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority last year encouraged schools to create their own gardens. Heather Mann, principal of Dubai British School Jumeirah Park, said their garden was now in its second year. "[We want] to support the students’ learning related to the requirements of the English National Curriculum, and also to make better use of an unused space," she said. "The garden will in time be a tranquil place for students and staff to use as part of wellbeing." Each year group in the primary school has a unit of study related to the garden or growing. For example, Year 3 pupils have a theme titled English Country Garden. The school runs an after-school gardening club and staff and pupils decide what to grow. The garden, which has a mix of flowering plants and vegetables, is looked after on a weekly basis. "The children learn about plants including a great deal of learning related to healthy eating by growing vegetables," said Ms Mann. "In addition to the educational links, in the cooler months we have used the garden as a meeting place, which provides a more relaxed and welcoming environment. "The children have cooked with some of the produce but mainly we have donated the produce to ancillary staff so that they may have a more healthy diet." nhanif@thenational.ae Source: The National, 6 February 2017