VIDEO: New sensory gardens opened at Colgate Primary School

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After a year of planning and fund raising, Colgate Primary School finally proudly unveiled their new sensory garden to a group of excited pupils, teachers, parents, governors and invited guests.

In the hot sunshine, on Thursday July 18 the school gathered to watch Gary Morris, founder of Ifield Chestnut House in Crawley, cut the ribbon to officially open the garden.

JPCT 180713 S13290831x Colgate primary school new sensory garden.  Gary Morris, Ifield Chestnut House fund raising group, opens garden -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 180713 S13290831x Colgate primary school new sensory garden. Gary Morris, Ifield Chestnut House fund raising group, opens garden -photo by Steve Cobb

When I first arrived at the school as Headteacher in 2012, I noticed that there was a stretch of grass between two classrooms which was untidy and without purpose. One of my visions for the school was to improve the outside learning environment and I began planning improvements including having a quiet sensory garden which could be used by classes, children and parents alike.

I employed AquaTecture, a Worthing based family landscaping company who expertly work with schools, to draw up plans and my make my vision a reality.

Over the year, the school raised money by raffling Olympic mementos, hosting teacher training student placements, using commission from the designing of Christmas cards, school uniform and production photographs.

The school also received a donation from Sussex Police, Horsham District Council, and large donations from the school PTA, and from Ifield Chestnut House charity.

Over the last two years, Gary Morris has donated money to the school and has worked with us to support purchasing resources for Special Educational Needs and in turn, Ifield Chestnut House has become our school charity.

Also on display in the garden was fantastic canvas art work which had been made by families in art club as part of the family learning activities.

The garden will be used for growing flowers and vegetables by the children, as a sanctuary for quiet reflection, as a learning environment for all areas of the curriculum, for time out time and for parents to use when waiting for the their children at the end of the day.

The ‘grand opening’ was a great success and was supported by many parents who came to have their first look at the garden and art work.

I am very proud to have such a beautiful quiet garden which will grow and develop over time and be used by so many in our school community. I am also very grateful to all of the people that contributed money towards making my dream a reality.

Contributed by Mrs Kate Powell headteacher of Colgate Primary School.