Dunkirk Discovery Garden and Adventure Garden
We have two significant areas at Dunkirk Primary which we use as out-door classrooms. At Abbey Campus we have an area by our car park which the childeren have named the Adventure Garden We have an area at Highfields Campus at the end of our school field which the children have named our Discovery Garden. Classes can use these spaces on a regular basis as part of all aspects of their work and as a place for inspiration and well-being. The Discovery Garden and Adventure Garden are really special places that have been developed with all of the children, staff, family groups and the local community . We also have a section dedicated for plots available to members of the local community.
The Discovery Garden at Highfields is a large area at one end of the school field and is fenced off as a separate space so that the children feel they are entering a very different place when they go through the gateway. We grow plants for food there, but so much more than that happens: there are willow domes, seats, a fire circle (used in forest school sessions), hills to climb, wildlife-friendly plants, trees, a small orchard and much more.
The Adventure Garden at Abbey is an area that has planting areas, specific animal habitats, and a space for 'circle time' where the children can gather and reflect on their learning. It is a smaller area than the Discovery Garden but no less appreciated by the children that work in it!
The Discovery and Aventure Garden are designed and made with the children for them to use in all aspects of their learning. It complements the other outdoor areas at school, especially the Nature Garden behind the Kitchen at Highfields for those plants that need extra care in the hot weather and small groups that can stay on site. The Discovery Garden backs onto the canal and forms part of a locally important wildlife corridor with a rich diversity of creatures. This brings a wonderful educational opportunity for the children who document and study this variety.
We go outside throughout the year exploring the changes in the natural world, finding natural treasures, looking, listening and asking questions all the time. This encourages children to be active out-doors and by making sensible clothing choices they are actively involved in making their own risk assessments. The school has waterproofs for the children and when the weather is cold we make warm drinks and often a warm snack to share there.
Children use the out-door classrooms in so many different ways, linking to all aspects of the curriculum. They have been the setting for a Roman invasion, for a hoard of pirates to sing, cook and make maps, used for treasure hunts, potion-making, poetry and story-telling, den-building, mini-beast hunts, word games and much more. It is so crucial to have a place for reflection, for sharing ideas and for peace and calm.
It’s very much a space that will continue developing and growing. Each class is growing different fruit and vegetables and this will develop over time.
If you would like to view some of our films that document and celebrate our projects then you could click on the following links. Here you will see raised beds prepared by the children. Food is grown by the children and harvested by the children They then prepared it for a class celebration and even invitede their families.