The Pinner Wood Garden
The seeds of our ‘Wonder Garden’ at Pinner Wood School were planted at the beginning of lockdown in March 2020. The garden has grown! It has grown into a bio-diverse, multi-faceted and aesthetically pleasing outdoor learning space. A space to breathe in, to think and to play in, a place for our community to share.
The Friends of Pinner Wood had the idea of somewhere quiet and contemplative for the children; this idea has blossomed into an interconnected set of spaces each with a different role, which includes a decked stage with circular seating for theatre in the round, a forest area with a pergola and fire pit (decorated by the families with painted pebbles), an orchard with adjoining meadow and recycled tractor tyres filled with vegetables and herbs that the children have grown.
The quiet area is filled with flowers with wisteria and clematis planted to clamber over the pergola, providing shade and seclusion. There are picnic tables made from recycled materials where the children can relax, chat and dream…
Thanks to The Woodland Trust, Orchards for Schools and The Tree Council, new hedgerow borders the Forest School area and we have planted an orchard of fruit trees including apple, cherry, pear and fig.
A strip of field has been gently tilled, and the children have scattered meadow seeds which are growing well into a visually pleasing swathe which moves and ripples in the gentle breeze. This also provides a valuable and lively feeding ground for insects, birds and other pollinators.
Parents have generously donated trees, shrubs, bulbs, seeds, garden equipment and bedding plants. We have a seasonal Saturday Gardening Club where families can come and garden with their children and enjoy being outside together.
Staff now have Inset and meetings in the garden and a team of keen gardeners in years 5 and 6 water and tend the plants each day.
Our school was chosen by The Tree Council to feature in their film which followed a day of learning, and which will be shown at online film festivals this summer. We have also had an oracy workshop with The Speakers Trust and have entered a speech competition for ‘Speaking up for Trees and Nature’. The garden really has opened a new (green) door for the school.
Future plans? We have already done so much in a very short time, but we’re not finished; perhaps we will never finish… Future plans include an outdoor classroom which will arrive in September, some more circular seating and raised beds (expected soon). Metal, wood, rubber and recycled plastic have been chosen specifically along with re-used and reclaimed items (tyres, repurposed gates, concrete reinforcement mesh, a container conversion) in line with our school community sustainability aim. Coming soon will be a raised pond and a tepee.
It really is a garden full of wonder……….
Forest School at Pinner Wood School
The children in Early Years at Pinner Wood School have regular sessions in our onsite Forest School area. This gives children a chance to explore learning in an outdoor setting, whilst also learning about the importance of taking care of our wonderful environment!
Our activities include;
- Exploring our senses
- Seeing environmental changes throughout the seasons
- Bird watching
- Mud painting
- Den building
- Bug hunting
- Exploring flowers, plants and trees
- Looking for signs of local wildlife
- Taking care of insects
Forest School promotes well-being, is confidence building and develops team building skills.
The children learn rules promoting health and wellbeing, such as ‘no pick’ or ‘no lick’, walking carefully on uneven ground, risk taking and the importance of hand washing on return from the session.
Our sessions often link to work we are doing in class, such as story-telling or understanding the world. For example, in Autumn 1, we have been learning about the story ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. The children enjoyed exploring the different ‘settings’ and using these to retell the story.