Our funding gives an inner-city school a sensory garden

Published 15/03/2021
3 minutes Read

Every year, the Millennium Point Charitable Trust Small Grants programme gives out grants of up to £20,000 to support science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education projects in the West Midlands. Applications are now open for 2021.

Here is one of the many projects that the programme has funded in 2020:

Who’s running the project?
City Road Primary School is situated in the Rotton Park area of north Edgbaston.

What’s it all about?
With support from Millennium Point Charitable Trust, City Road Primary School will create a Sensory Garden for its Early Years pupils. The EYFS (early years foundation stage) outdoor area has been chosen as the dedicated space for this project.

To start the project KS2 children will create designs based on given criteria (outline of the area, needs of children in Early Years, budget and safety aspects). The winning design will be a combination of ideas from children in each KS2 year group. The garden will feature plants (herbs and flowers), solar panel lighting, wind chimes, suncatchers, mirrors and birdhouses. Building raised beds for fruit and vegetables is also included in the project with room for expansion for a solar water feature, a seating area for quiet time and a colourful path linking all the areas depending on budget. The design aspect of this project will build pride in the school and children will hopefully develop a great sense of ownership for the development of the garden.

The sensory garden will provide a great stimulus for developing communication, social skills and an understanding of the world. The design and build of this project will promote STEM throughout the school and community and create a sustainable area which will support teaching and learning for all children as part of the Early Years outdoor learning strand and KS1 and 2’s Science curriculum. This should inspire children’s aspirations and understanding of STEM careers.

Who will benefit?
All pupils at City Road Primary will benefit. The Early Years children will have daily use of this exciting learning space to develop communication and social skills, while older children in other year groups will have a sense of responsibility as they will have time to maintain the area in the future. Sessions in the sensory garden will be embedded in the school’s curriculum, thereby ensuring that it will form part of the teaching of STEM subjects in subsequent academic years.

What they said:
Sarvjeet Jandu, Assistant Head Teacher, commented: “We are so excited about this project. A high percentage of our children are from a minority ethnic background within a socially deprived area. In the locality, there is a growing number of families living in overcrowded houses with no outdoor space and as a result, some of these children have little or no experience of growing plants outdoors or of the natural world. This project will expose them to new experiences which they would not otherwise have, understanding sustainability, growing and the importance of outdoor learning through play.

“Many of the KS2 students involved in the design of the garden have younger siblings in reception and nursery and will remember and discuss their time in the same area. The Sensory Garden will emphasise how we are linking learning across the school and promote the excellent work the children have done.”

 When’s it all happening?
A grand opening will be planned during the early summer months to unveil the Sensory Garden. Once built, KS2 children will maintain the area and be responsible for its upkeep, as part of their science curriculum.

About educational grant funding from Millennium Point
Educators, Charities and Not-for-Profits within the West Midlands Combined Authority can apply for up to £20,000 from Millennium Point to fund their STEM activity. For more information on how to access this funding please visit www.millenniumpoint.org.uk/grants

Find more interesting content from Millennium Point over at our news section, or follow us for daily updates on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn with @MillenniumPoint. Millennium Point is a landmark public building and multi-award-winning events venue in the Eastside of Birmingham City centre. Profits from our commercial activity are invested by the Millennium Point Charitable Trust into projects, events and initiatives which support the growth of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and education in the West Midlands. 

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