Do you love to garden? Do you believe in the ability of nature to bring peace and perspective to our busy lives and minds? Patricks Road State School recently held a grand opening event for its very own Grandad’s Garden – a space designed to give children a quiet place to process their thoughts.
A range of school community members as well as special guests, Brian Andrew and local artist Sarah from Kreative Heaven attended the opening. Brian read his book to a group of excited students who joyfully shared their dreams with him.
Patricks Road State School Chaplains Andrea Eadie and Trevor Corke based the garden on the book ‘I Grow in Grandad’s Garden’. The children’s book highlights the values of gratitude, forgiveness, courage and generosity and says “When you pass on good values to your children you are setting them up for a life of success and significance.”
The garden is designed as a space in the school where students can take a fun personal development journey over four stop spots: the ‘think and thank’ seat, the ‘let go log’, ‘cross over corner’ and the ‘dream table’.
Andrea first dreamed up the garden after hearing Author Brian Andrew speak at a professional development day for chaplains, and Trevor made it happen by coordinating all the workmen.
Andrea, who has been a chaplain for 14 years, is so pleased the garden is now open for business.
“It must have been early 2013 when Brian spoke and I went to the principal. The principal was really excited about it and went to the graduation committee, as it was tradition for them to leave a gift to the school, and she spoke to them about donating money to create the garden as their parting gift,” says Andrea.
The graduating Year 7’s agreed and some representatives were at the opening to see what their gift had created.
As Andrea sat in the new garden she reflected on what motivated her to take on this project.
“I think today’s children are really rushed and don’t understand how to sit and think, and even the school playground is really busy. This can be a quieter place to stop and think.”
“The whole ‘think and thank’ motto is about gratitude which is one of our school values and I think that is something kids need to practise. I meet kids who are in Grade 6 and are still holding on to something from Grade 4. I think forgiveness and letting go is really important as well as dreaming about the future,” says Andrea.
Initially Andrea and Trevor will talk the students through the meaning behind the garden. “We will read the book to every class in the school and explain it on assembly before having groups through. The older children will be encouraged to teach the younger ones the process,” Andrea says. “We hope that when kids are having a bad day or just need some quiet time, they can come and go through the different stations.”
Deputy Principal Maureen Bailey could not be more pleased about the garden opening and the chaplaincy program that made it happen.
“I think it’s going to be a huge asset to the school. We have an absolutely fantastic chaplaincy program, which supports all the families, students, parents and some of the staff in our school. Our chaplaincy program is one of the jewels in our school’s crown. This is going to give them another area to work in and is going to educate students to think about the processes that go on in their heads when they are down and give them tools to help themselves,” says Maureen.
The garden is a combined community effort by chaplains, school staff, Local Chaplaincy Committee members and students, with support provided by local businesses such as Green by Design Property Services, Kreative Heaven, Bunnings Stafford and the Brisbane City Council. This demonstrates the role of a chaplain in working with the wider community to serve the young people in Queensland schools.
Chaplains Andrea and Trevor with Sarah the artist. Patricks Road State School students reading ‘I Grow in Grandad’s Garden’. Author Brian Andrew reads his book to the students and speak to them about their dreams.Grandad’s Garden at Patricks Road State School.
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