Outdoor space and making the most of our natural surroundings has never been more important. At a school, a sensory garden encourages pupils to explore and interact with the environment and provides a fun educational space. It incorporates areas that are both stimulating and relaxing.
ADP recently delivered a new primary school for Star Academies’ Olive Primary School in Birmingham. Star Academies is one of the country’s leading education providers whose efforts are geared towards raising the aspirations of children and young people in areas of social and economic deprivation to improve their life chances and help them to succeed at the highest levels of education and employment.
In December, our senior landscape architect Claire Hunt teamed up with the contractor Bouygues and staff and pupils at Olive Primary to develop a sensory garden to go with their brand new school building.
The pupils were asked for ideas on how they would like to use their sensory garden, and Claire used these to work up a design. She incorporated elements of all of their imaginative ideas into the proposed scheme.
Claire was also inspired by a recent release of the classic children’s film The Secret Garden. Features included are aimed to engage all of the senses: an allotment garden to explore taste, a musical area to explore sound, sensory planting to explore touch and sight.
The final design is called ‘The Bubble’. The theme came through from the pupils’ designs, a suggestion of a bubble machine, water fountains and it being a buzz word from 2020! A time capsule will also be installed into the garden for future generations to rediscover their milestone moments.
The garden was a voluntary project designed in Claire’s spare time, and with Bouygues donating the labour and materials for the build.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions the whole process was achieved virtually, but Claire hopes they’ll be able to celebrate its opening at the school, and that she’ll get to meet the pupils who helped form ‘The Bubble’ Secret Sensory Garden.