The adage ‘many hands make light work’ describes the Centenary Garden at Rosemount P.S. perfectly.
Last year the Sunday Journal visited the school when they secured funding to turn a piece of land within the school grounds into an area where children could learn about the environment.
Just over a year and a half later and the small piece of grassland has been totally transformed into something mesmerising.
The small piece of land is surrounded by a tall hedge and it’s not until you step through a gate just off the playground that you realise just how amazing a facility it is.
There’s an outdoor wooden classroom, a poly-tunnel, several raised vegetables beds, a tree house and even a wormery.
Every class at the school spends at least half an hour every week in the Centenary Garden and earlier this week children of all ages helped to collect the final harvest before the winter sets it.
Only last week school children picked potatoes, courgettes and onions and made soup.
“It was really nice. We also had some homemade wheaten spinach bread,” said P7 pupil Matthew Divine.
The school celebrated their 100th birthday last year, hence the reason why the garden is called the Centenary Garden.
Although every child helped towards the building of the garden it owes its existence to the passion and enthusiasm of Teresa McKeever.
Teresa is a nursery assistant at the school. She works in the school’s nursery from Monday to Wednesday but on Thursdays and Fridays she looks after the Centenary Garden.
“My father and his father before him loved gardening so it’s definitely in the blood,” she said smiling.
In 2012 Teresa convinced school principal, Mr. Brendan Grant to green light a project which would see the land used as a place to promote an understanding of the environment amongst the school’s pupils. The rest is history.
“None of this would have been possible had it not been for the staff and pupils of Rosemount P.S.
“I get a buzz every time the children come up to the garden because not only is it obvious that they are enjoying themselves but they are learning about the environment and they don’t even know it.”
Rosemount P.S. is officially an Eco-School. The school has placed an exciting emphasis on promoting the environment amongst its pupils and in recent months they won several prestigious awards.
Some of the school pupils took part in a project focused on wind energy. The school submitted the project for an award and earlier this year they won first prize in the Airtricity Global Wind Awards for 2013.
“This is all part of the curriculum now and the children really enjoy learning about it.
“We have children as young as three years of age in our nursery using the garden right up to 11 year-olds in primary seven.
“It’s an invaluable space and my hope would be that some of the children would carry on with their passion for the environment when they leave the school and who knows, maybe some of them might even make a career out of it.”
Seven year-old Darragh Flood is in Mrs. Kelly’s P4 class. Darragh is the Eco-Chairman for his class and said Thursday is his favourite day of the week as it’s the day he and the rest of his class visit the Centenary Garden.
“I love the garden because it has birds and insects. I look forward to coming up here every Thursday as there is always something to do,” he said/
P7 pupils Sean Doherty, Bronagh Downey and Holly Edgar will all leave Rosemount P.S. in June but all three children said they were proud to have contributed to something that will benefit other children at the school.
“I hope that I can bring my own children here someday and tell them all about the time that the entire school helped Mrs. McKeever to create the Centenary Garden. That would be very special,” said 10 year-old Bronagh.