Park Junior School contacted Enrich having lots of ideas about their grounds, but unsure as to where to start. In discussion with the Headteacher many of the challenges that the school faced were due to disconnected spaces for play and learning across the grounds that over time were now looking “well loved”. It was discussed that many areas were considered as out of bounds to the pupils throughout the day due to difficulties of supervision by the Midday Supervisors. Through the workshop process it was also realised that areas designated for “quiet play” were finding it hard to ever achieve their purpose to location and design.
It was interesting for the school to also think about the arrival and welcome experience at the school for not just themselves but to anyone new arriving at the school too. Did the disjointed nature of the school site send the message that they wanted to say to all their visitors and potential new families.
It was also recognised that the school is an area of Gloucestershire where the grounds provide perhaps one of the largest open spaces some of the children at the school could ever get exposure too. Ensuring that this wasn’t forgotten was key to considering how the grounds play a vital part in the health and well being of all its community and how the grounds could be used better for the future.
The collaborative process was the perfect vehicle for all at the school to feel engaged with making change for the future to address all of these issues. A wide cross section of the school community attended the workshops including parents, pupils of all ages, teaching staff, governors, the Headteacher and lunchtime supervisors. The culminating final Strategy Plan not only has enabled to school to have a plan for the future but also develop Key Principles for change that have far reaching effects.
Health and Well Being is an issue approached by many but at Park Junior School “Being Healthy” was one of the key principles that took precedence. Physical and mental well being of all at the school was given a high priority and spaces and activities within the grounds to enable peace, and calm for those who need it was the first project. The new Quiet Garden accessible all year, but away from the more active play has enabled anyone at the school to have a place “just to be”, and the new Walk and Talk initiative around the grounds for all year groups encourages communication and attempts to reach out to anyone who may feel alone or isolated.
Other projects are also now planned for the future with the Strategy Plan guiding them through. The plan now provides the holistic vision for the whole site and the Key Principals of what the grounds can provide for all.