This week saw the opening of our new outdoor, all-weather learning space, complete with raised planting and growing areas, hedgehog houses and wild fruit hedgerows. Our ‘Garden Force’ project began last year with the children being invited to share designs of what they thought should be included, and in the last few months, teams of children, staff and parents have worked hard to transform these into reality.
The children were encouraged to think about an animal they wanted to make a home for, or a particular plant or flower they love. They thought of activities they’d like to do in the garden, and were asked to consider:
- Types of plants, size, colour and textures
- Landscaping – paths, raised beds, features
- Building materials and costs
- Safety and environmental impact
With the aim of making this an eco-project in every sense, we are keen to re-cycle wherever possible. We put a plea out to anyone who had any railway sleepers, topsoil or other garden materials that we could use, and were lucky to also receive offers from volunteers who were willing to give up their time on two weekends to help with the renovation.
The finished garden is a beautiful place to learn, play or relax, and is now a habitat that encourages insects, birds, amphibians and even mammals. Lots of children have already been making the most of the space for their art lessons, reading, PSHCEE activities and form time, and enjoying the benefits of being outside from enhanced engagement with learning to increased health and wellbeing.