With the growing use of technology, children are spending more and more time in front of screens and less time out in nature.
One school that is helping kids get back to basics with nature is Pillans Point School.
After conducting research at the school, they found most children could not name common plants and herbs such as mint, chives, raspberries, pohutukawa, and kowhai trees, and had limited knowledge past common insects such as spiders and bees.
With the help of TECT funding, Pillans Point School have built an extensive water play and edible garden area in a hope to educate children through engaging hands-on learning and play.
Water Play and Edible Garden Galore
With a vision to reintroduce tamariki to the land and importance of water and sustainability, the garden area features two sustainable water play areas, two kitchen areas, a large storage shed, paths, edging, rocks, raised gardens, and over 250 native plants, fruit trees, nut trees, vegetable plants, fruit vines and herbs.
The interactive nature of the garden serves as an excellent educational experience for children, with the ability to touch, smell and taste all that is grown and cultivated.
While younger children can explore and learn through play in a creative and enriching environment, older children can produce foods such as soups, jams, chutney and healthy treats from the bountiful garden of fruit and veg. Through this, children will also learn about soil quality and the importance of water and use investigation skills to discover and explore living creatures and plants.
Designed with child-friendly maintenance in mind, the school worked closely with a permaculturist and landscaper to ensure the garden maintains its appeal and is easy to maintain, whilst also being sustainable with water tanks to catch rainwater off classroom roofs. It is also able to be used by the local community after school hours.
Community Support for Garden
It could have been a costly job, but thanks to community, TECT and local companies’ support, the garden went ahead at a fraction of the cost.
Pillans Point School Principal Matt Simeon says they are grateful for TECT’s grant and the support of the community and local organisations.
“We want to thank TECT for their support. We received a lot of help from local companies providing resources such as concrete, plants, water tanks, mulch, a storage shed and more. The $30,000 TECT grant helped us create the water play area, kitchens, landscaping and gardens. And of course, the children helped with the planting process which was another fantastic learning opportunity.”
TECT Trustee Pete Blackwell says TECT were proud to support the creation of the new garden which will contribute to extended learning opportunities to students.
“The garden will create an interactive way for children to learn about the land, flora and fauna, which is so important in this day and age. It’s great to see this TECT grant help build a fantastic play and learning area for both the children and community to engage with.”
To learn more about Pillans Point School, visit https://www.pillanspoint.school.nz/