They had an unused lawn area next to one of their playgrounds that they wanted to turn into an exciting learning space for the children with opportunities to grow vegetables,Schools Out!! Articles fruit and herbs for use in both their cookery lessons and in the school kitchen.
A recent NFER study reported that teachers and pupils engaged in outdoor learning experiences to develop their personal and social skills to a high level. They also found that knowledge and understanding increased in a number of curriculum related scenarios. The young people themselves also referred to improved social skills and a greater belief in personal efficacy; some, indeed, referred to a (sometimes unexpected) understanding that learning can be fun!
Planning the Project
The area most in need of renovating was a grass area adjacent to the rear playground, which over the years had become barren through loss of 2 trees due to old age and an ugly container which housed the go-karts belonging to a club who had used the school playground for go-kart racing.
The school decided it was time to develop this area for the children to use as a garden learning environment, so a large seating area was required, but the children also wanted to be able to use the area to sit in at lunch times, so the seating in the pergola was planned so that you could sit facing inwards for teaching and for pleasure of seeing the garden, they could also sit facing outwards. The children, inspired by the sight of a grass snake basking in the sun on a rock above the water, were also adamant that they wanted a pond with a waterfall. The Science department also suggested a log pile and wild area which could be used for teaching science. The maths students helped to decide that the shape of the pergola must be geometrical and have geometrical shapes for the floor. The school also decided that the raised beds should be angular, so that the children could relate geometry to real objects and appreciate maths in a physical way.
The school decided that the pergola must seat at