Wonderful Willow Ideas from The Coombes School

24 July 2010 · 1 comment

in Art & Music Outdoors, Developing School Grounds & Outdoor Spaces

I’m a big fan of willow structures in school grounds and outdoor spaces. In a previous post Clare Revera from Out to Learn Willow explained the benefits of these living sculptures.

So you can imagine my excitement and delight when wandering around The Coombes School last June, I found more than just a standard dome and some lovely ideas for working willow into projects.

This is a very well-established and recently pruned willow structure that has been set up as a “willow museum”. As you can see a variety of objects have been hung up…

Staff, parents and children were asked to find items in their homes that were made from willow.

These have been attached to the large willow structure at The Coombes School, to make the connection between the trees and the products.

One object was to big to be attached. So she stood gracefully under a nearby weeping willow tree. Someone had decorated her hat with daisies.

I joined a Foundation class (P1) who were doing the willow project. They were working with green willow that was freshly cut.

Green willow is very supple and can be bent to create different shapes. The children were stripping the leaves off the willow and creating little hearts.

The same children did visit the willow lady and the museum. They had to find the object they had brought to the school. They also had fun talking about and showing their objects to other children. The willow structure though had a hidden secret…

The willow structure was situated on a mound. Behind and below the mound was a performance space. Imagine being 5 years old and looking up at this…

Whilst it’s not quite the same as being in a West End theatre, this performance space is dramatic and unique.

Elsewhere in the school grounds, willow was planted and used to good effect. There was even a huge “Willow Angel of the South”.

Whilst these structures are unique to The Coombes School, the ideas are transferable. One possibility is to think about an outdoor museum in your setting. What cultural or creative connections are there to your local area? For example, a school in a fishing village might choose to make nets to hang on fences and to attach objects used by fishermen or items found during a beach combing activity. The possibilities are endless…

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

The Sunshine Crew July 26, 2010 at 22:55

As always, neat post…love the willow ideas.
So you will know, I gave your blog an award…love your blog and always enjoy reading it:)

Have a nice week,


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