Unused pond at Copnor school is transformed into mindfulness garden for pupils to enjoy

AN UNUSED pond has been totally transformed into a tranquil mindfulness garden for pupils to enjoy and explore.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 11:00 am
Megan Patten, Kell Swift and Kelly Prior with some of Copnor School pupils and headteacher, Matt Johnson, at the transformed garden at Copnor Primary School. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Three aspiring primary school teachers rolled up their sleeves and worked hard to remodel an area of Copnor Primary School into a new zone for children to play in and learn.

Kelly Prior Kell Swift and Megan Patten, third year students at the University of Chichester, took on the huge task as part of their final university project, and the trio are over the moon with the results of their hard work.

The group started with a completely overgrown pool, but have managed to fill the hole in, lay a sensory path, produce a water feature and incorporate three raised flower beds for the children to manage themselves.

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Three primary teaching students have been working hard at Copnor Primary School to transform their unused pond area into a mindfulness garden as part of a university project Pictured: Megan Patten, Kell Swift and Kelly Prior at the transformed garden at Copnor Primary School, Portsmouth on 25 May 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman

Waterlooville resident Kelly, who hopes to work with children with disabilities in the future, said: ‘It’s about leaving a legacy to carry on for years to come. We literally went in not knowing what we were going to find, it was a big project.

‘This project is an assignment like no other. It’s been a lot of hard work and physical labour, but it has been totally worth it to provide an area that the children can now access all year round.’

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Named by the children, the Nature Nook was officially opened on Tuesday and pupils were excited to see the finished garden.

It is suitable for all stages of the primary curriculum, something which was important to the group as they wanted children from Reception up to Year 6 to be able to enjoy the space.

Kelly, from Leigh Park, said: ‘When we arrived it looked like an impossible task, but with determination, hard work and resilience we have managed to transform the area. I believe this will really make a difference to the whole school.’

Cosham resident Megan added: ‘The transformation of this area has been a real achievement for all of us! Having the opportunity to personalise the garden to what we felt the children would benefit from the most has added meaning to the project.’

The group even created some lesson plans to leave with the school, so teachers could make sure they were getting full use out of the new area.

Matt Johnson, headteacher, said: ‘From the outset, our hopes and intentions were to create an area of peace and tranquility for our children to enjoy, relax and feel safe and secure within, supporting their mental health and wellbeing.

‘After the past year of lockdowns and restrictions, some of our children have not had the opportunity to spend much time exploring the outdoors, therefore the Nature Nook will provide all children with the chance to spend time exploring a nature area which has a range of features to develop all of their senses, such as a variety of seating options for relaxation, a sensory pathway to support gross and fine motor skills and a range of planting for children to smell and touch.

‘This new area will also provide children an extra area to use at break and lunchtimes as a quiet area for those who would like to sit and talk to a friend, simply have time to relax and reflect or read a book.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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