Sheidow Park School - Sensory nature trail
Read about a new sensory nature trail at Sheidow Park School and how its enticing children, parents and teachers to engage with nature through all of the senses.
This article appears in City Limits magazine - Issue 46 - October 2014.
Children jumping on rocks, running their hands through pebble-edged sandbaths and poking sticks into a fire pit are some of the sights and sounds that are bringing a new sensory nature trail to life at Sheidow Park School.
The trail was designed and built by Steiner Bush Playgroup, the school and local community in two weeks under the guidance of environmental sculptor Evette Sunset.
The sensory nature trail uses activity stations to entice children, parents and teachers to engage with nature through all of the senses.
It features a perfume path (fragrant plants), snack track (edible plants including herbs and berries) and a paint patch (differently coloured plants and flowers).
Other plants include chocolate mint, strawberry guava and purple Russian kale.
Principal of Sheidow Park School Jenny Engelhardt said the trail had created a new and stimulating learning environment.
“The trail is a beautiful and stimulating place to learn and the looks on the faces of the children and staff when they toured the areas that had been so caringly created were priceless,” Ms Engelhardt said.
“One reception girl whizzed past me jumping on the rocks saying ‘I just love this garden, love it’ and some parents had trouble getting their children to go home.
“It was beyond their wildest imagination that this could be created in two short weeks.”
Work on the trail began at the start of the July holidays, making it a surprise for students when they returned to school.
“There was nothing there before the holidays, it was just an area at the back of the school,” said Steiner Bush Playgroup committee member Debra Bradley.
“Our first playgroup session was a delight and children quickly branched off to do whatever interested them.
“What really brought it together was the learning circle, which doubles as a fire pit, as it gave life to our songs, with ‘Polly’ putting the kettle on before ‘Suki’ took it off again.”
Ms Engelhardt said she believed the relationships formed between the groups that built the trail was at least as significant as the trail itself.
“Perhaps the greatest outcome of all has been the relationships that have formed between all the people involved,” she said.
“The Friends of Glenthorne Farm volunteers provided knowledge of local plants, we had advice from the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resource Management Board and children from the pre-school Steiner Bush Playgroup to Year 7 primary students helped out, each person adding their own expertise.”
Ms Bradley acknowledged the guidance of environmental sculptor Evette Sunset.
“We had lots of wonderful ideas and it was Evette who brought them together with her vision and knowledge of plants and nature,” Ms Bradley said.
“Evette was incredible to work with and a real inspiration.”
The Steiner Bush Playgroup runs weekly sessions during school terms on Tuesday mornings for children three years and older and their younger siblings.
The project was supported with a $5000 Community Grant from the City of Marion.
- Find out more about the centre on the Steiner Stream Project website.
City Limits Magazine
The City Limits Magazine is a community publication that keeps Marion residents in touch with what is happening in their community. It includes information about major projects, council initiatives and events, as well as profiles of community members.
It is published three times a year and distributed to 40,000 residents and businesses in the Marion Council area.