“We learned how to work together to look after the plants and the wildlife.”

“We hope the garden will increase the wildlife population now we have improved their habitats.”

So said a 6-year-old, and 10-year-old, respectively, about their experiences in the new Peace Garden at Bretforton First School.  The school’s Eco Team, comprising students from across the school, was motivated to develop the project following a £500 donation from Bretforton Gardening Club.  The Eco School values placing the environmental at the core of the children’s learning and the child-teacher Eco Team concluded they wanted to create a space that would enhance native wildlife.  As students were marking the centenary of the First World War alongside VE Day, the end of the Second World War, a Peace Garden seemed appropriate.
The whole school project – from initial design and choice of planting especially insect-attracting flora – through to the practical construction of the garden itself – provided the children with real opportunity for decision making.  They included log piles, bug hotels and hedgehog homes along with a place for birds to feed.  The final addition was a bird hide, and the children created artwork depicting many of the birds and insects that they hoped to attract to the peace garden.

Co-ordinator Mrs Jo Ellis, said:

“It has been so rewarding for the children to see their original design become a finished garden.  The children have gained so many new skills and have understood the value of working as a team, to the benefit of the wildlife.”

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Note: A longer version of this article will appear in the next Environmental Education journal.