Halloween fun helped children connect with nature

This month, we teamed up with our neighbours Little Tots Montessori Nursery for their Halloween celebrations. In fact, it was the culmination of a collaborative effort that saw children from The Priory School planting pumpkin seeds in our market garden in April.

In addition to picking pumpkins, the nursery held a sale of pumpkins and squashes to raise funds for Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s Wilder School Network, which is an initiative to help children connect with nature. The sale raised an impressive £327.60, proving that the Little Tots are also little budding entrepreneurs!

The Halloween pumpkin sale.

In fact, my involvement with Little Tots goes back to early 2021, when I first took over at Ewhurst. We invited the nursery over. We showed the children our honesty box, which we use to sell eggs laid by our chickens. The children were fascinated, so we walked them along to visit the chickens so they could see where the eggs come from. I remember one little girl’s face lighting up. She looked up at me and asked: “Did these chickens make the eggs?” It was wonderful to see her make the connection: eggs don’t just come from shops, they come from nature!

This was a wonderful example of what we’re trying to do at Ewhurst, which is about helping people to reconnect with nature.

Since that first encounter, planting and harvesting pumpkins for Halloween has become an annual activity for the Little Tots Nursery. In the first year, we made a special day of it. The children were invited to pick their pumpkins – to see what had become of the seeds they had planted – then we carved the pumpkin together. I cooked pumpkin soup and we ended the afternoon sharing a nice warm bowl to nourish our bodies.

My philosophy is that children learn best about nature when they can have a tangible experience in terms of something they can see, feel and taste. It’s amazing to get them involved.