We are very proud of our schools’ grounds. A variety of playground areas are enhanced by gardens that are maintained by our gardener and maintenance worker and working bees hosted by our Grounds & Maintenance Committee. Recent graduation classes and their families have donated artwork for the school grounds, including the tree sculpture at the front of the Administration building (class of 2017), the metalwork piece on the external wall of the Library (class of 2018), and the mature tree planted in the Memorial Garden (class of 2019). Members of the school community are invited to assist with watering our gardens over the holiday breaks.
Some of the specific areas in our grounds include:
A Memorial Garden is located at the front of the school. This space was created with the assistance of a grant and installation from Bunnings, and features a Friendship Chair (donated by the graduating class of 2016 and their families), another chair in memory of our former Principal, Andrew Crossett, who died in 2017, and a mature Jacaranda tree that was the gift of the graduating class of 2019.
A Sensory and Meditation Garden was constructed in 2019. This beautiful area is a passive space adjacent to the Years 3 to 6 playgrounds within our school that allows children to sit quietly, experience different textures and sensations as well as providing a peaceful and beautiful environment for the school. This project was funded by the Inclusive Schools Grant and the result of the excellent work of Jenny Austin and Ina Kuehlich who developed a clear vision and plan for this area.
A Mathematics Garden was completed in 2022. Following the transformation of the access, pathways and fencing at the south-eastern end of our school grounds, we have realised the installation of our Mathematics Garden with the support of a $20,000 grant from the Australian Government’s Local Schools Community Fund and donations from members of our school community. The Mathematics Garden provides highly engaging alternative activities for students and creates a greater interest and focus on mathematical concepts and exploration. It provides an outdoor classroom whereby teachers and classes can explore these concepts more easily and thus provide an innovative way of learning mathematically.
The Mathematics Garden is an important element of our Learnscapes vision, considering inclusive play, educational practice, community use, sustainability, and aesthetics. An important feature of this garden is that it caters for all students. We have extensively researched mathematical gardens in primary schools and this type of integrated, student design is a truly innovative idea.
There is a variety of different types of mathematical play areas, from interactive panels which create challenge and expand play, to painted surfaces on asphalt which encourage collaborative games of symmetry and mathematical wonder. There are games of logic and a table for chess, pictures which celebrate mathematical patterns in nature, and a ‘geometry’ arch will be installed soon. In the shady trees, students hunt for mathematical signs, and they can sit and relax under the ‘prime’ tree. The students can measure their height vertically or horizontally, and play mirror image and counting games. They can use the street signs to locate the distance and direction of the state capitals. Very popular features chosen by the students include a footy target board, and a ‘dart board’ which is located between the Banksia and Violet buildings. The Mathematics Garden exists to not only assist student learning but also to make it fun.
The design process has been undertaken by students in consultation with students, staff and the school community which has built student involvement and ownership. In 2020, the Year 6s were privileged to have the opportunity to participate in a Zoom conference with the Prime Minister, Mr Scott Morrison. Students asked their own questions of Mr Morrison, and it was also a great opportunity to discuss the construction of the Mathematics Garden.
Year 6 conversation with the Prime Minister, The Hon Scott Morrison MP
Presentation to Assembly and Essex Heights Primary School Council