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Help for Gillingham Primary School Students

28 Apr 2017

Outdoor Learning Area At Gillingham Primary School

Outdoor Learning Gets a New Look At Gillingham School

With the help of local community businesses like Mole Country Stores, local students, teachers and volunteers have joined together to create a vibrant and beautiful Outdoor Learning area at Gillingham Primary School.

The Hedderwick Chase Memorial Garden project was started last year over the school summer holidays. Leaders at the school identified the perfect grassed area near the school that was not being used. Even better, it was adjoining to their small pond area. It was the ideal place for a memorial garden.

The site was seen as a way to enhance the outdoor learning areas around the pond and give students the chance to spend time in a quiet area of the school. To help create the garden, each class from Year 1 to Year 6 were given their own planting bed to design, sow, and grow in preparation for the April grand opening.

“We place a high value on children learning outdoors. Being outside naturally heightens children’s levels of curiosity and engagement,” said Caz Earley, business manager at the school. “We recognise the impact of a positive attitude on all of children’s learning and development.

“The practical nature of learning outdoors enables first-hand experiences which are more meaningful and memorable,” she said.

For the school, using the garden to nurture and grow plants and flowers not only reinforces key areas of the curriculum, but it also results in the children taking responsibility and ownership at the same time as developing valuable life-skills.

The idea came from our Governors who wanted to commemorate one of our Parent Governors, Alistair Hedderwick, who sadly passed away recently. Mr Hedderwick dedicated an enormous amount of his own time to Gillingham Primary; his children still attend the school. Sadly, the school also lost their long-standing receptionist, Fiona Chase, in 2015.

“We felt a garden to honour both of their memories would be a fitting tribute,” Earley said.

Mole Country Stores in Gillingham – along with their suppliers – were happy to contribute to the local garden project. With help from store manager Calum Orchison, the store was able to secure the donation of sleepers from AJ Charlton, a new pergola from Forest Garden, a garden bench from Huttons, topsoil from Westland Compost, and finally some pea gravel from Kelkay.

A number of other local businesses supported the project as well, along with Gillingham Rotary Club and countless parents, students, and volunteers. They donated money, plants, and even sweat equity to the cause.



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