This overview outlines a series of sessions and activity options to support your planning to deliver the Key Stage 1 Plants Programme of Study. It supports younger learners to develop key ideas about plant biodiversity through working scientifically skills of observing, identifying and investigating local plants. Through learning outdoors and connecting to nature in fun and playful activities, the sessions are designed to enable learners to value and enjoy plants around their school and local area, beginning to understand their importance for a healthy planet.
What do we know about plants?
Revisit what learners already know about plants and explore what they would like to find out. The activities provide playful opportunities to observe, compare and celebrate the plants in the local area.
What do we know about the plants around our school?
Introduce learners to the skill of grouping, identifying and classifying common plants in their local area. Through using simple identification methods, learners can begin to know the different groups of plants on their school site.
Why are plants important for the planet?
Learners can use scientific enquiry to answer questions about plants: from sorting which parts of plants we can eat, to finding out how different plants can help us, choose enquiries that model and facilitate a deeper understanding of the importance of plants.
How can plants be cared for?
Give learners opportunities to grow and care for plants in a fun and engaging way to model the care and responsibility towards plants: grassy creatures, seed bombs and making paper pots are a few suggestions.
How do plants make us feel?
Support a positive connection with nature by choosing activities that help learners to articulate how plants make them feel, such as creative opportunities to celebrate the importance of plants.
Teaching young people about plants provides an important opportunity for outdoor learning and supporting an interest in nature and the local environment. By giving learners opportunities to grow and take care of plants and talk about how plants are used, children can begin to understand our interdependence with the natural world.
- Identifying and classifying
- Identify and name a variety of common wild and garden plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees
- Identify and describe the basic structure of a variety of common flowering plants, including trees
Geographical skills and fieldwork
- Use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key physical features of its surrounding environment
Human and Physical Geography
- Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to physical features
Preparing to play an active role as citizens
- Realise that people and other living things have needs, and that they have responsibilities to meet them
Develop confidence and responsibility and making the most of their abilities
- Recognise, name and deal with their feelings in a positive way
Breadth of Opportunities
- Make real choices, e.g. choosing what plants to plant
All plants have colourful flowers, green leaves and a stem
Learners should be supported to know that plants include a large range of living things, including trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns and mosses. Their common characteristics include their ability to make their own food and being rooted in one place.
Environment - The natural world, as a whole or in a particular area. The conditions that surround a living thing.
Names of common plants and trees - Learners may begin to learn names of common trees in the UK such as the common oak, beech, holly, hazel, field maple, horse chestnut, ash, rowan, hawthorn, silver birch, elder and sycamore.
Further Activities and Opportunities
Woodland Trust Tree Tools for Schools - Explore the Woodland Trust's resources for tree planting and care advice.
RHS Campaign for School Gardening has monthly activity suggestions for gardening with children and young people.
Recommended books - BookTrust reviewed
A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope by Michael Foreman (ages 6 – 8). In a war-torn, barbed wire-fenced landscape, a boy finds a seedling and cultivates it, attracting insects and birds, bringing joy to all.
Errol’s Garden by Gillian Hibbs (ages 4 – 6). Errol loves gardening, but he doesn’t have a garden. Then he comes up with a creative solution, thanks to the discovery of a disused area at the top of his apartment block. A heart-warming book with universal appeal that's a delight, from beginning to end.
Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root (ages 4 – 6). Rhyming text and warm illustrations create an uplifting tale that celebrates the joys and pleasures of growing not just food and flowers, but also friendships and communities.
Paddington in the Garden by Michael Bond (ages 4 – 7). Paddington Bear shares his love for gardening in this beautifully illustrated story book.
The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry (ages 5 – 9). A tale of the Amazon rainforests and the message of the importance of trees and how all living things depend on one another.
These career profiles from PSTT share some people who work with plants as part of their jobs.