Gairdín na Scoile & Outdoor Classroom
Our School Garden
In 2021 with the help of the Coiste Ceantair we expanded our school garden. The new space is designed to be low maintenance and gives plenty of space for picnic mats and tables! We look forward to using and developing the space as the weather improves. This new area compliments our Gairdín na Scoile which has several large raised beds and plenty of room for growing flowers and vegetables throughout the year.
Our Gairdín na Scoile is a truly magical place! There are lots of fairy houses to find and chalkboards and block boxes to build, play and explore. Our new ‘Bee n Bee’ seems to be fully booked out and lots of other insects have been spotted checking into the Bug Motels! Our mini explorers and scientists can find minibeasts under every rock and log. The children also love playing in the Mud Café where anything can be on the menu!
School gardens are a wonderful way to use the school yard as a classroom, reconnect children with the natural world and the true source of their food, and teach them valuable gardening and agriculture concepts and skills that integrate with several subjects, such as math, science, art, health and physical education, and social studies, as well as several educational goals, including personal and social responsibility.
The Benefits of a School Garden:
Experience and research have shown numerous benefits of school gardens and natural landscaping:
- children learn focus and patience, cooperation, teamwork and social skills.
- they gain self-confidence and a sense of “capableness” along with new skills and knowledge in food growing — soon-to-be-vital for the 21st century.
- garden-based teaching addresses different learning styles and intelligences; our non-readers can blossom in the garden!
- achievement scores improve because learning is more relevant and hands-on.
- students become more fit and healthy as they spend more time active in the outdoors and start choosing healthy foods over junk food.
- the school yard is diversified and beautified.
We take part in the Innocent Big Grow Project every year and the Incredible Edibles whenever we are lucky enough to be selected to participate.
Some of the fruit and vegetables that we grew last year were carrots, cabbage, potatoes, parsnips, onions, lettuce, sweet peas and cress.
Our Outdoor Classroom
When Covid-19 struck we realised the importance of getting outside into the fresh air as much as possible. We designed our outdoor classroom in the space between ‘the Astro’ and ‘Gairdín na Scoile’. These new benches, moveable stools, whiteboards and umbrella’s allow teachers to use the space in lots of different ways.
The outdoor classroom has been used in a wide variety of ways already from outdoor lunches, book club, working on creative art and STEM projects and of course for some rocket explosions and messy science experiments!
We also painted the walls within the garden and removed the old yellow garden fence and replaced it with a block wall. This is more secure and gives better defined spaces to the garden and the outdoor classroom. Teachers and children collaborated to design and paint the new walls. It looks amazing!!
2023: Our beautiful outdoor wildlife signs have arrived!! These extremely durable, colourful, bilingual signs have been placed all around our school yard and garden to create a special, outdoor, wildlife trail. They are a wonderful tool to help children learn about the common Irish wildlife found around our locality.
In our outdoor space we also have a large outdoor blackboard for creative collaborations to celebrate special days and events throughout the year!