Primary school's new garden has 'positive effect on wellbeing and learning'

Preston Primary's new pond, which pupils observe as part of their outdoor learning

Preston Primary's new pond, which pupils observe as part of their outdoor learning - Credit: Preston Primary School

A primary school on the outskirts of Hitchin has worked to create a new outside space for its pupils after a "turbulent year."

Preston Primary School started the ambitious project in the summer term, with a vision of creating a garden in the school grounds which encapsulates the strength and love of the school.

As well as designing and making a garden, each child was also asked to make a stepping stone as part of the path leading to the garden. Small groups of parents and grandparents were invited in each day to help create the stepping stones with their child.

Generous donations were made by parents and discounted plants were provided by Stevenage Garden Centre. The Preston School Association was also able to match fund, allowing the garden to be filled with wildflower patches and sensory plants, with the hope of adding a slide and seating area in the near future.

Headteacher Inneke Luitingh said: "We appreciate that this was an ambitious project, however, we believe that it will be of huge benefit to the whole school community, and in particular the children.

"We are very grateful to everyone who helped to make this wonderful project happen."

Using the garden to enhance their learning further, the school set up the Pond to Pond Challenge: to walk a collective total of 1,000km - or 4,750 laps of the school track - starting from Preston’s village pond.

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Since the pond was installed, the children have been able to observe the changing eco-system taking place in and around the pond and are delighted with this new addition to their outdoor learning.

Noah, who is in Year 6, said that he feels very lucky to have the pond, and that he finds it relaxing.

"It is next to our classroom, so we go outside for some lessons, we observe the pond habitat and how it changes every day. It all is very exciting!" he said.

Parent Mrs Ide added: "It was great to support Preston school's vision of outdoor learning.

"Being a school in the countryside, we felt it was important to encourage the children to understand and interact with nature, and it's great to see that it has had such a positive effect on their wellbeing and learning."