Grand opening for The District’s Reading Garden

The District CE Primary School in St Helens will officially open its Reading Garden today.

The idea of the garden grew during the school’s Year of Reading initiative, which is shortlisted for the Innovative and Creative Literacy Award at this year’s Educate Awards.

The garden was designed, with the company Cool Canvas, as a place to share stories, create stories and be inspired. The magical garden includes a story shack, tepee seating area, CBeebies story window, beautiful signposts pointing to famous story settings and fairy houses perched on trees. Everything was created to inspire little imaginations and allow the children to interact with their surroundings.

Teacher Heather Wright, says: “We are so excited to open our Reading Garden. Our aim was to drench our pupils in all things reading to develop a reading for pleasure culture. Our pupils would tell you reading rocks at our school now!

“We promote reading anywhere and everywhere! We are very proud of this project and its success. It was our original concept, brimming full of pioneering ideas. We are so pleased when we see others following in our footsteps. We know of at least two schools in St Helens who have adopted the idea of a Year of Reading.”

The main feature of the Reading Garden is the amazing story shack, this cosy hut houses the school’s very own CBeebies story window. The window is a replica of the CBeebies house window often used for the bedtime story segment. It was created by The Lowry for its BBC Children’s ‘Through the Ages’ exhibition, which they then kindly donated to the school.

The window is painted so that, with green screen technology, the school can add images and video to the panes of the window, creating endless story time opportunities.

The grand opening today will feature a ribbon cutting by The District’s patron of reading, author Cathy Cassidy.

During the opening event, various members of staff will be reading favourite stories around a bonfire in our woodland area, in the CBeebies window and at the log circle. Pupils have been invited to bring a story lantern, created from recycled plastic bottles, decorated with their favourite story.

To coincide with the day, the school will be selling signed Cathy Cassidy books, alongside a book written as a whole school.

Heather Wright, adds: “The book was inspired by the Children in Need book, The Curious Tale of Fi-Rex. We titled our book The Curious Tale of Mrs Bate-asaurus, after our headteacher.

“To keep it curious, we pulled a prop from the mystery bag for each year group to include in their part of the story. These included a pirate hat, a slipper, to name a few, even a toilet roll! The pupils have absolutely loved this writing experience and the tale certainly is curious! The book will be on sale for 50p with all proceeds going to Children in Need.”

The opening takes place today at 3.30pm. Follow all the action on Twitter at @TheDistrictCE


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