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Monday, June 27, 2022

Leeds primary school creates wellness garden to help pupils with their mental health

The space was designed so that children can participate in outdoor learning sessions and gardening activities.

A primary school in Leeds have created a wellness garden to aid pupils with their mental health.

Chapel Allerton Primary School on Harrogate Road in LS7 created the garden using funding from the Parent and Staff Association (PSA) and community environment groups, CA Spaces and Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods.

The garden includes a courtyard, benches, sensory plants, herbs and flowers to help the children engage with nature.

The garden was created by a community environment group and members of the PSA. Image: CA Spaces.

Teachers and pupils are encouraged to use the garden, with the space designed for children to participate in outdoor learning activities and gardening workshops.

The garden was revealed last month after months of hard work by parents, staff and members of the community.

Local councillors for the area, Mohammed Rafique (Lab), Jane Dowson (Lab) and Eileen Taylor (Lab) all visited the garden on its opening day to express their admiration at the new outdoor space.

Outdoor learning is one of the primary school’s key focuses with a biodome for growing fruit and vegetables and improved outdoor play spaces introduced earlier this year.

Throughout the year, pupils get the chance to go on an orienteering course and experience several outdoor adventures as part of their learning and personal development.

The wellness garden was designed to be low maintenance for members of staff to easily keep up with its growth, with the school’s own ‘green team’ of students taking on various responsibilities to keep the space flourishing for years to come.

Headteacher Nicholas Sykes said the “mental and emotional wellbeing” of everyone at school was very important.

Sarah Priestley Turner, a member of the Parent and Staff Association and chair of CA Spaces, said: “After all the ups and downs with Covid-19, it felt like it would be great to create a really lovely garden space that was very artistic and sensory for children and staff.

“It was a really nice way to open up the space and get everyone in the school excited and involved.

She added: “It’s basically a big thank you in a way to most of the staff and children for being so amazing through what has been a tough few years.

“It’s been one of those projects where a team of really passionate do-ers have cracked on with it. The project is completely in line with what CA Spaces is about, taking underused and unloved spaces and enabling people to get a lot of positivity from them and bring smiles to people’s faces.”

Anwyn Beier, a local artist and parent involved in the transformation, said: “This space is designed to provide a calm, quiet and relaxing area in which all staff and pupils can relax and unwind in nature. It’s looking so beautiful.”

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