In July, some Friends of the Quiet Garden Movement enjoyed both social and quiet time in St Patrick’s school Quiet Garden in Kentish Town. Margaret Harvey, Trustee of the Quiet Garden Trust and Chair of Governors at the school told us how the creation and use of the garden were integrated into the life of the school.
Margaret Harvey (Quiet Garden Trust Trustee and Chair of Governors for St Partrick’s School) told the story about how the Quiet Garden was created at the school – you can listen below:
The theme for the design of the garden was St Patrick’s journey and the shape based on the Irish triskele. Garden designers Bella D’Arcy and Carol Wilcox involved staff and children in the design and the children were encouraged to use their maths to measure the space and create their own site plans. Along the garden wall a mural depicts St Patrick’s journey – modes of transport updated to those the children know, and seas, rivers, mountains, hills. Artist Peter Harrington ran workshops with the children to help design and create the mural. The Quiet Garden was a cross-curriculum project for the children and staff in the school.
The Quiet Garden has now been a school resource for 9 years – the plants have grown forming sheltered seating areas and a tranquil view from library and classrooms. As Margaret explained “The garden provides the children, who live in flats and a busy city environment, with the opportunity to take time to enjoy the senses, to feel the soil, to touch the plants, to smell the aroma of a garden, to hear the bees buzzing about collecting pollen, to hear the birds singing. …
The children enjoy being in this oasis of quiet and tranquility…. for quiet time and also science lessons.” In addition, the Quiet Garden is a place where children, who are not having a good day can come, to sit in this calm oasis for a period, before returning to the classroom better able to learn.
Quiet time has become an integral part of the school day in this multiracial school. After lunch playtime, children and their teachers sit quietly in their form rooms and use a cd from Meditatio to lead them into a few minutes of silence. Some children share this short meditation practice with their families at home. At St Patrick’s quiet times and the Quiet Garden contribute to the caring inclusive, ethos of the school and sense of community.