The Pupils at Oak Bank School have worked together collectively to renovate the Acorn Garden into a sensory outdoor space.
The Acorn Garden is primarily designed for children based at the Acorn House with ASD, but can also be a calming environment for wellbeing and art therapy sessions. Through the enrichment programme every pupil has the opportunity to get involved in the development of the sensory garden.
Pupils participating in Horticulture lessons, and the enrichment programme, have been helping to transform this outdoor space, since the start of the academic year 2019-20. Through their dedication, pupils have shown great patience and diligence, developing many aspects of their education whilst turning their hands to gardening. Together, with their vision they have created a garden that can be enjoyed by all of the school community.
With the trickling sounds of our new water feature, there is an open seating area where pupils have been sitting together and enjoying the fresh air. The children have worked hard, developing hand eye coordination and motor skills to level the uneven ground ready for the summer.
The grass lawn has been hand planted and grown from thousands of seeds and will be an area for the pupils to be able to play in. The fences and woodwork have been painted in natural, calming shades including sage green, purples and blues which complement the array of plants. There are many flowers in the garden that produce wonderful scents and climbers that will eventually surround the fences with the feeling of an enclosed safe haven.
Pupils have the opportunity to grow vegetables in the newly installed raised beds which have been made by pupils in their construction lessons. They learn about growing but also about the different types of vegetables which, once ready, have to be sampled! They experience a huge sense of achievement when they are able to cook the vegetables they have grown in Food Tech lessons or take them home for parents or carers to enjoy. There is also the option to start up an enterprise project with the vegetable harvest, all further promoting healthy living.
Within Oak Bank’s Vocational Education and Enrichment provisions, Horticulture provides a wide range of AQA units which are differentiated, making accreditation accessible to all pupils regardless of their age and abilities.
The Horticulture lessons and Enrichment program not only encourages pupil to eat healthier, but provides engaging exercise and can help to build self-confidence. It can improve focus and memory and it positively impacts moods and psychological wellbeing.
The garden would not be what it is today without the generous donations from the Rotary Club of Leighton Linslade, Morrisons, Frosts Garden Centre and last but not least, the pupils of Oak Bank School.