The Herb Patch

* To apply for an information pack for your school, please email info@nationalherbweek.ie *

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The Herb Patch project is an Irish Register of Herbalists initiative to work with Irish National Schools and give them the knowledge and the skills to create their own herbal medicine garden. The concept started with the idea of bringing green spaces into urban schools that had none but it soon became clear that the garden was a valuable resource that children everywhere should benefit from and it was expanded to include rural schools.

The aim of this project is to give children an opportunity to develop a relationship with plants and an interest in the natural world. A familiarity with how to use herbs to maintain health is a valuable asset for us all and will benefit these children as they grow into adulthood.

Herbs and green spaces are great for children in many other ways – they encourage them to spend more time outside in the fresh air engaging in physical activity and they nurture in the young a sense of stewardship for our planet. They also help children to connect with healthy eating and they love learning about how to use herbs in cooking.

Gardening is great skill for children to cultivate as they discover more about plants and how easy it is to grow them. Even if there are only windows sills or window ledges available, it is still possible to grow a few plants and experience the excitement of watching them develop and learning how to nurture them. Children love growing plants especially ones they can taste and eat!

The Herb Patch initiative has great potential for forming part of the Green-Schools project, Food Dudes, the Global Action Plan project or as a class science project. Children also love combining hands-on work with learning to do online research into recipes, botanical and cultivation information as well as their uses for health. As such, it combines various abilities and shows how information technology and practical skills can work well together.

There are some great folklore stories to explore, appealing to children’s love of tales. Ireland has one of the richest collections of plant lore thanks to the Irish Folklore Commision. In the early 1900’s they carried out a survey with the help of school children and this initiative is a lovely way of revisiting the connection that school children have always had with our plants and of bringing the knowledge back to them.

We are encouraging herbalists and teachers alike to get involved by requesting an information pack and working with local schools who are interested in this fantastic initiative.

Herbs used in the Herb Patch

Nine herbs were chosen for the Herb Patch – Lavender, Peppermint, Parsley, Calendula, Rosemary, Thyme, Chamomile, Lemon Balm and Heartsease. These gentle herbs are easy to grow, smell good, taste good and look attractive.

Monographs for these herbs were generously supplied by Veriditas Hibernica and can be found in our Resources section.

Information packs are available at info@nationalherbweek.ie