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30 Nov 2021

Laois school reveals big plan for outdoor classroom and gardens

Scoil Phadraig Portarlington all set for back to school

Pat Galvin, Principal pictured at the opening of the school in 2019

A Laois primary school has unveiled an ambitious design for outdoor spaces full of fun and nature for their pupils.#

The kids at St Patrick's Boys NS in Portarlington are getting a wild woodland with hens and a firepit along with an outdoor classroom, vegetable garden and sensory garden. 

At its centre will be a piece of sculpture that the boys can clamber on. Pictured below.

The school moved into their long awaited big new building in May 2019 and already have a playing pitch installed thanks to local fundraisers.

Principal Pat Galvin has now revealed designs this Friday, March 5, created by a parent of a pupil.

See his announcement below image.

"After a very successful, and safe, return to school this week, we are delighted to unveil the plans for our fabulous new garden.

"You may have observed the diggers and stone pickers out this morning, so we are well underway. Tomorrow will mark the official launch, with the boys from Junior Infants, Senior Infants, 1st, 2nd and Arc classes, all planting a tree for our new Portugese Laurel hedge, that will form the perimeter of our new space.

"The central piece of the garden is the Trinity Loop, which Barcelona based artist, Anaisa Franco, has been commissioned to create as part of the Percent For Art Project. Our Public Art Committee of Stephen Terry, Rachel Rafferty, Sandra O’ Neill, Ann O’ Neill, Eileen Ryan and Curator Rina Whyte, are delighted to be working with Anaisa and hope to have her stunning interactive piece installed later in the year.

"Flowing from the Trinity Loop will be four separate areas: The Sensory Garden, The Outdoor Classroom, The Vegetable Garden and The Wild Willow Woodland. This is a very exciting project and will hopefully provide many years of fun and learning for the boys. Never before has there been more of a need for the boys to have access to quality outdoor education and adventure.

"The garden project has developed from a plan that Sandra O’ Neill, a parent of one of our boys, created for us when we were initially looking for another space for the boys to enjoy. Having sown the seeds of creativity, Ms Rafferty, has developed Sandra’s plan to incorporate the Trinity Loop and four interconnecting spaces, in our very own natural wonderland," the principal said.

A big fundraising effort will soon start to make the outdoor spaces a reality.

"Over the coming weeks and months we will be actively on the lookout for any sponsors or donors who would like to be associated with this amazing project. If you are in a position to do so, or know of someone who would, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Mr. Terry. We will also be in contact shortly with some fundraising ideas for our boys and their families.
Your continued support on initiatives such as this, is what makes them possible and gives your boys the best possible setting for their learning and wellbeing," Pat Galvin said. 

Below: Work started on the garden project.

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