22 May 2020
Back in May 2019, Fadden Preschool received a few new additions to their playground in the form of 40 Silver Birch trees, one planted for each student in the two preschool classes. The new trees were planted in a unique spiral pattern, leading to an enchanted fairy garden and small timber setting.
To commemorate their planting, a little silver disc was engraved with the names of each student and teacher and hung in a tree of their choice. The children also made threads of beads to adorn the branches until the first leaves could grow in Spring.
Fast forward, and nearly a year later, the young trees have put down roots, spread their branches and sprouted green leaves and have an established place in the heart of the school community.
Students love to play and lounge in the shade, and the central fairy garden has become host to imaginary role play games such as potion making, superheroes, families, cooking and more. A group of year six students have even performed a modern version of Red Riding Hood to an audience of pre-schoolers as a part of their performing arts unit, using the forest as the setting.
“The deciduous forest lends itself to ongoing seasonal studies, provides shade and an exciting play space for the children. We have practised mindfulness amongst the trees using our senses to quietly contemplate and calm ourselves during the busy day and watched the birds and insects amble amongst it happily,” said Fadden Preschool teacher, Susan McPherson.
The Spiral Tree Forest was delivered as a part of the Government’s Tree Planting Program, undertaken to uphold a commitment to providing sustainable, natural outdoor learning spaces for students, that foster connections with the natural environment.
So far, thirteen schools have been recipients of new trees, including Alfred Deakin High School, Amaroo School, Arawang Primary School, Bonython Primary School, Calwell High School, Caroline Chisholm Senior and Junior campuses, Hawker Primary School, Miles Franklin Primary School, Monash Primary School, Wanniassa Hills Primary School and Fadden Preschool.
The schools’ new trees provide cool seasonal shade to outdoor play spaces and buildings, are cost effective, reflect current best practice for environmental sustainability and provide a balance between artificial and natural play spaces.
It’s also been shown that green spaces such as these promote good mental health, and provide calming, comfortable locations for children to rest, play or socialise during breaks or outdoor playtime.
In 2019/20, the program will deliver more trees to Campbell High School, Melrose High School, Mount Stromlo High School and Yarralumla Primary School, all are expected to be in place by the end of May 2020.
The new trees at Fadden Preschool are definitely well-loved by the young students and will continue to grow along with them for years to come.