The design of the garden will integrate space that can be used playfully and imaginatively by children. The plan is however to avoid conventional play equipment (slides, swings etc) in favour of a belief that where provided with a varied natural environment, children will create their own play (rolling down hills, climbing on/jumping off logs, exploring apparently “secret” places, creating dens/”houses”), which will both build their imagination and also enjoyment of the natural world. Although this will be done on a very small scale in the garden, we hope that this will introduce them to/encourage them in this kind of play, so that when they visit larger natural landscapes (parks/woods/commons), they will “know what to do”. This is particularly important at a time when many studies are showing that children are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature and the natural world.
As a church this is important as we believe that God has entrusted us with the care of his world and this will not happen if people are dis-connected or alienated from it. By creating this garden we hope to play a part in helping to connect local children to the natural world, and building in them a love and respect for it.
We are going to be producing a range of resources to get children (and adults) thinking about the garden. Here is a quiz to start you off – Garden of Discovery Quiz.