New School Garden Area Will Stimulate Children’s Senses

An undeveloped area at the entrance to the Trinity School playground has had a brilliant makeover in the half-term holidays with a new sensory garden being installed thanks to the Friends of Trinity School and local businesses.  

The newly landscaped area features four zones which will stimulate the five senses as well as giving the children a chance to explore plant life cycles, how to grow plants, learn about where our food comes from, the seasons, the importance of insects as well as discover other wildlife up close.  The garden will create a protected, stimulating place for children of all abilities who may enjoy being, working and socialising outdoors. Whilst some areas of the garden will provide a place for relaxation and contemplation, some will be more engaging, encouraging exploration, touch or taste, and interaction with particular plants, or features and objects. 

Nicola Nott, Chair of FOTS said,We decided that we wanted to make the space not just a pleasant area to be in at play times but also an opportunity for learning.  This garden will have been a huge team effort by many different local businesses and individuals including the working bee of parents, friends and children volunteers.  The project will achieve a real sense of community and achievement.”

Rebecca Parks, Trinity School TA added, “We believe children learn best when they’re fully engaged, and a sensory garden is a brilliant all round teaching tool that will do exactly that. The garden will also provide the only fully accessible outdoor learning area for the less mobile children at the school.”

The garden was designed by Ingrid Leene and the project was being delivered by local design and garden maintenance specialists Spaces Aligned, owner Jess Craig. She said, “It has been collaborative effort.  I got involved through Nicola who I met through The Creative Duck.  Family Tree who we normally work with on the construction side agreed to help on the project.  We have luckily had some other great local business who have donated to this fantastic project – Peppard Building Supplies, Louise Holland from Burning Desire who has done the wooden lettering, Toad Hall donated some of the plants, Quick Grass provided some astro turf, carpentry by Tim Levy and Charlie Armstrong for materials and waste removal.  We’ve also had loads of volunteers from the school.  We’ve had a couple of hiccups but we’re on plan to finish it before the children go back to school and luckily the weather has been on our side.  Everyone has been really enthused.” 

A grant for funding was provided by WPA Health Insurance through local resident and employee, Cora Corrigan. Cora explained. “I met Nicola at networking and I mentioned that if there were any schools that needed funding for a health project.  She came to me with this project which was super exciting.  What is nice is that WPA have always had a benevolent fund for their local Somerset area but as they are a national company they decided they should spread that money around nationally.  Nicola put together an amazing proposal and when they read it they thought, Wow! it ticked so many boxes and they gave the full funding allowance.  It looks unbelievable.”

Designer, Ingrid said, “I’ve tried to really think about the four different zones and the planting within in it.  The woodland one, we based it on the saplings that were already there.  We’ve put some dogwood underneath and some evergreen grasses underneath so it’s not a bare piece of land in the winter and has got some vibrant colours in there.  In the second zone with the sensory path running through it we’ve got more textures and movements with ferns and some more structural plants and grasses.  In the sunny area there’s some raised beds where the children can grow some vegetables and then the stepping stone path which really slows the children down to enjoy the fragrances from the herbs and lavenders.  The last area is the games area where there will be a blackboard, bench and bug hotel.  The four zones connect with each other so the children will have a real journey.”