Hathern Church of England Primary is a small (148 pupil) school in the village of Hathern. They are seeking to develop an area of the playground into a space providing peace and sanctuary for their children – it will be called the Peace Garden.The main aim is to provide an area where children can feel safe, secure and to experience peace and quiet.
The peace garden will create an enclosed area with planting of herbs, wildflowers and perennials in the borders as well as in wooden planters. Plants will be specially selected for their wildlife appeal and sensory stimulation. The ground will be covered by bark, paving stones, pebbles, artificial grass and a winding walkway that will ensure accessibility. Seating will be placed at various points around the garden allowing children the opportunity to sit, think, listen, talk and engage.
The garden will be partially covered by a canopy offering year-round use in all weathers for the teaching of National Curriculum and extra-curricular subjects.A water feature will also be installed providing a continuous soothing trickle sound. Features such as mirrors, artwork, wind chimes and sculptures should inspire and provide focus for reflection. The garden would be used as a support base for children experiencing emotional issues. Counselling sessions would also be timetabled in the garden.
Mental health is a growing concern in all communities and age groups. Head teacher Steve Dunn has proactively invested school funds in Mental Health First Aid training for staff to recognise and support pupils with emotional and mental health difficulties.The provision of a safe space, such as the Peace Garden, is likely to greatly improve the school experience for the pupils at Hathern, especially the many children experiencing emotional and/or mental health difficulties.
John Carlisle, Chairman of Farmer & Carlisle Toyota said “Farmer & Carlisle are extremely proud to be working with and funding such an important local project.We recognize that Mental health issues effects all ages, and will benefit these young students especially at a time in their lives where they are most vulnerable.It will also hopefully tackle the stigma attached to mental health and teach children that it is ok to talk about their feelings and emotions openly.For us it is rewarding to help positively shape the adults of the future.”
Steve Dunn, Hathern School Head teacher said “We are extremely happy and grateful that Farmer & Carlisle see the many benefits of supporting such a wonderful project as our Peace Garden. Our Garden will provide a refuge for children in school who occasionally, or more frequently, need to have a space where they can go and sit, think or relax away from the hustle-bustle of the busy playground. Additionally, the space will lend itself who whole class teaching as well as small group activities and will become a valuable outdoor resource. The children are already excited about using the space as are our staff and parents.”