The Spiral Tree Forest – Fadden Preschool supporting connection through transitions
In May 2019, 40 preschoolers from Fadden Preschool received a unique gift, one which is supporting them to remain connected to the school community they are a part of once they graduate from preschool.
Each child in the two preschool classes was given a Silver Birch tree, which was then 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.
In May 2020, just like the children, 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.
The Spiral Tree Forest is a popular playground spot, where children play and “lounge in the shade” Fadden Preschool Teacher Susan McPherson said, explaining that the central fairy garden has become host to imaginary role play games such as potion making, superheroes, families, cooking and more.
As well as supporting the younger children, the forest has become a place where older children can support the ideas and imagination of the younger ones, with one group of Year Six students performing a modern version of Red Riding Hood to an audience of preschoolers as a part of their performing arts unit.
“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,” Ms McPherson said.
The Spiral Tree Forest was delivered as a part of the ACT 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.