RSA Academies RSA4 Road-trip: Abbeywood First School
For the third leg of the RSA4 road-trip, we headed to Abbeywood First School in Redditch to see pupils’ progress on their mindfulness garden.
Over the past six months, 10 Year 4 Pupil Leaders and their wider class peers have been participating in the RSA4 youth social action project. Back in March, the Pupil Leaders attended a social action planning workshop where they decided that they wanted to focus on mental health and wellbeing in their school community. Mental health problems affect 1 in 10 children and young people between the ages of 5 – 15 years old. Pupils recognised that their classmates needed somewhere they could go to quietly reflect and practice mindfulness, so they decided to claim an area of the school grounds to create a wellbeing garden.
With the support of their teacher, pupils have been learning about different activities to promote positive wellbeing through mindfulness and even rhythmic drumming as music therapy. Pupils realised that creating their garden would not only create a quiet space for reflection but the activity of caring for their garden was a mindfulness activity in itself to promote positive wellbeing.
To help make their garden possible pupils wrote to local garden centres to ask if they would be willing to donate to their cause by gifting plants and garden decorations. Pupils were so convincing they received over £150 worth of donated goods. Parents and member of the school community were also inspired to buy plants for the garden as well as giving up their time to support a community gardening day. With the support of their Year 4 peers, teachers and family members, Pupil Leaders have been able to bring their garden to life.
When RSA Academies came to visit, pupils were busy designing welcome signs for their garden as well as planting the first few flower beds. Pupils even created unique decorations by creating a ‘bookshelf’ of bricks painted to look like classic garden-themed children’s books including The Secret Garden and The Weeping Willow. After a busy morning of gardening, pupils spent some time practising mindfulness meditation outdoors.
Finally, last Friday (12th July) pupils revealed their finished mindfulness garden to the whole school community at their summer fayre.
As the Year 4 pupils move on to their middle schools, they will be leaving their garden as a legacy to their fellow pupils so that they have somewhere beautiful and inspiring to practice mindfulness and hopefully inspire others to make a positive difference to their school community.
With thanks to Pears #iwill Fund, the RSA and RSA Academies will be working together for the next two years to investigate what meaningful social action looks like at primary school level through the RSA4 project.
- The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £40 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high-quality social action opportunities.
- The #iwill Fund brings together a group of organisations who all contribute funding to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people.
- Social action involves activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, all of which enable young people to make a positive difference in their communities as well as develop their own skills and knowledge.
- The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill campaign – to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people, by recognising the benefit for both young people and their communities.