Our school is set on a spacious site with several large green areas. We wanted to maximise the learning potential of our school site to improve pupils’ holistic learning experiences- particularly within the areas of outdoor education, activity based and play based learning which are essential areas of the curriculum and so important in eliciting enthusiasm in learning and developing key skills in core areas such as Literacy, Numeracy, ICT and STEAM. We also wanted to enhance facilities for our wonderful children who deserve the best and to strengthen school community and pride in our fantastic school.
The facilities developed include A Sensory Garden (The Rainbow Garden), an Outdoor Play Park and a Welcome Garden. These developments represent a £50,000 investment in our school grounds. Our PTFA have contributed approximately £12,000 towards this spend, through their relentless fundraising. They have organised various raffles, draws, bingos and hampers and have enjoyed very generous support from parents, families and the whole school community.
Our Welcome Garden was created almost exclusively by volunteers- Grandparent Stephen Vaughan built the Planter Boxes, Garden Furniture was designed and constructed by Lawrence and Gareth Blaney, Circular Stone Planter built by parent Fergus Rooney (Art of Stone) and grounds work was carried out by Pascal Magee. Plants/shrubs were provided at a discounted rate from Cunningham Flowers Dundrum. Special thanks to our school staff Head of Outdoor Education Mr Sean McReynolds who oversaw the Welcome Garden Project and was so generous with his skills and talents, our Building Supervisors Mr Brian Tweedie and Mr Bill Carew, our Classroom Assistants Ryan Craig and Miss Denise Sinclair who all gave generously of their time, skills and labour with grounds work and planting and Miss Gemma Vaughan our Eco Coordinator who was ever present with assistance throughout the project.
The children have thoroughly enjoyed learning outside in their new environment and are making fantastic use of the various areas that have been created for them. The team spirit that has been displayed throughout this project has been uplifting and a reflection of the strong school community that exists within St Colmcille’s Primary School. The Board of Governors have supported this project throughout and are committed to a cycle of continuous improvement of all aspects of the school- especially its facilities and resources.