Creating a garden for our children
Penn Wood Primary and Nursery School, based in Slough, has over 700 pupils ranging from 3-11 years and are always looking for ways to enhance the learning of the children based here.
Additional support is particularly pertinent at the moment, given the pandemic and the impact on education, especially for those families and children who have struggled.
Our idea is a quite radical. We wish to convert the garden of the old school house, previously the caretaker’s residence, in order to connect learning at home with learning at school. The garden will be a place where we can offer a space beyond the school building to capture a zest for learning, enabling all our children to flourish and thrive beyond the confines of the classroom. It will be used to support our commitment to meet the needs of our children with SEN Support (101 children), children with Education Health Care Plans (19 children), as well as our most vulnerable.
We have applied to the Innovation Fund in order to develop the area to provide both physical stimulus through games and gardening as well as mental wellbeing through areas of seating and observation of nature. We hope to provide a number of raised beds where the children can plant their own vegetables and fruit, nurture them and watch them grow, even being able to take them into the house, wash them, prepare them and turn them into something to take home or even to the community during harvest time. In order to achieve this, we will need everything from seeds and composters to water butts and tools!
We would also like to offer physical stimulus through play by offering a number of outdoor games where children can connect with others and improve communication and social skills such as sharing and team building.
For mental wellbeing, there would be an area of natural wildlife, where children can sit peacefully on comfortable seating and be at one with nature, maybe whilst reading a book. A bird feeder and bug hotel would also be used to stimulate the children’s curiosity with their surroundings.
There are so many benefits to our project:
- The school is in an area of high deprivation and this funding will benefit the children at the heart of the community.
- Some children attending school don’t have a garden or area to relax at home and rely heavily on school to provide some vital life skills, which this project will offer. It is hoped that children will take their learnings home and encourage families to engage with the ideas.
- It will hopefully heighten children’s understanding of where their food comes from and help them to learn some basic gardening and culinary skills which will enrich their lives as young people.
- By involving the local community – gardening groups/garden centre/parents the benefits of the project can reach further and deeper into the lives of those families and individuals affected by the recent pandemic by bringing people with a common purpose together
- It is important to give back and to share the rewards of the labour. By creating a full circle of a wider community reaping the benefits such as harvest food and donations to food banks.
We would love you to support our project and any contributions or connections you can support us with would be very welcome. We hope to start our project in September 2021 and look forward to sharing our journey.