Inverarary Primary – Demonstrating School Values in the Grounds

9 September 2010 · 2 comments

in Developing School Grounds & Outdoor Spaces

This is the third post about Inveraray Primary School. There’s still more to show! In Scotland, each school is expected to have put together a set of school aims and values. It is always interesting to look at the grounds and see if the outside areas reflect these. After all, does a barren asphalt and tarmac surface tell you that the school community cares for its environment? Is a school a welcoming place when you are met by a big locked grey door?

Like The Coombes School, there are a number of structures which have been built that demonstrate the caring, sharing ethos of the school and the involvement of children in all aspects of the planning, design and implementation of the project.

The seating and gathering places in the Inveraray grounds are interesting developments in that every one is more that your average park bench. Below is the story telling chair that has been carefully designed to blend in with the tree. If you look closely you can see the Charles Rennie MacIntosh design carved into the seat. This came about after the P6/7 class had a technology project that looked at his designs.

Below is a replacement for a wonderful, original bench which sadly got too weathered. A child designed it to look like a pair of protective wings and each wing was made from one ‘slice’ of wood, keeping the natural contours. A parent quickly whipped up this replacement.

The original was based around a native American proverb – “There are two values you can give a child. The first of all roots, and then wings.” They need to know the place they’re from. Inspirational and empowering wisdom! This is our principal school aim.”

“This is the Peace Hut. The roof is held up by 7 beams. Each beam is engraved with the names of the children from P1 to P7. The 7 beams are supported by each other. This is symbolic of the school community supporting each other. Every child in the school and nursery has put their hand prints on the inside along with staff, parents, carers and some visitors. We did this originally as part of the final blessing and dedication ceremony, but it has become an annual event to include new pupils. Even the window has seven sides to match the seven classes. The seating starts off low enough for P1 to have their feet on the ground and gradually raises as it goes round the building so that it is the correct height for P7s at the other end.”

The viewing platform came from the P4/5 class who raised the money through an enterprise project selling bulbs. They set the whole school a homework task to design the structure. The design had to include the school rules, one of which can be seen below:

In March 2010 the school received its fourth and permanent Eco School Green Flag. This is a remarkable achievement for any school. It demonstrates the value of, and commitment to, making best use of the school grounds as a place for learning. Long may the flag fly high!

Once again I would like to thank Lynn Kidd, Fiona Hamilton and Anne Paterson for their contribution to this and previous postings. Also thanks go to Inverary Primary School for permission to write about their evolving school grounds which demonstrate the values upon which the school community has been built.

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