Sutton Park Primary School Project:
This gardening project promotes healthy living and well-being through recreation, leisure, art, culture, physical activity and supervised training in primary life skills resulting in a more knowledgeable and educated citizen. It celebrates our culture and diversity while improving social conditions that benefit the child with greater self confidence that will foster self reliance, stability, maturity, partnerships, networking, community participation, beautification, improved city image, increased tourism, employment and business opportunities resulting in a more dynamic future.
Consider the implications of the expression, "Communities Growing Together". From the very beginning we all have always been indigenous "Children of the Earth" long before we realized our differences. Everywhere we have worked the land together producing harvests to feed our families, support the community and build strong and healthy nations.
Throughout this epic journey the children have accompanied parent or guardian from infancy to the garden or field where there was work to be done. Here in the garden were cemented essential primary bonds between parent, child, community and nature. Under guiding and watchful eyes children first learned many practical life skills and experienced lessons in the garden that became instrumental in their education and shaped their development into adulthood.
Successfully mastering each new garden lesson or activity builds self-confidence as the child begins to apply what has been learned through the garden to activities and relationships in the wider community that forge understandings and ultimately win success in the public arena. This results in a knowledgeable and educated individual of strong character able to contribute fully to improving their community. A person we might describe as well "grounded" or wise and mature in character.
Events in more recent times have resulted in many people, becoming detached from the land that supports them This removes "traditional" ways of child rearing that would have "grounded" the child creating healthy and well adjusted feelings of self confidence that grow daily through involvement in the garden resulting in a love and respect of nature, the family and broader community. Without the garden or its equivalence the child has been removed from a natural and fundamental parent/child/nature learning process.
This can lower a child's self-confidence leading to feelings of vulnerability, which can translate into disadvantage when interacting with the wider community. Natural and instinctual reactions of children to personal vulnerability include acts of fear, withdrawal, aggression, violence, vandalism, or disorderly behavior so frequently observed in our "disadvantaged" schools today. Without appropriate correction this behavior can escalate into adult criminal offences.
Criminal profiles often exhibit a poor self-concept, lack of respect for themselves or others. Often acts of aggression, vandalism or violence are committed when they feel provoked i.e. vulnerable or threatened. Many of these people came from "deprived" homes with poor facilities and little parental guidance. Most had no childhood gardening experience. Collectively such acts of destruction can cripple or even destroy a society. It is important that this situation be corrected for the well being of the nation.
For a community to "grow" together we need start with little more than that i.e return to what made us great from the start. Begin growing together in the garden. Provide a wide range of simple and fundamental learning experiences based around nature in the garden where children can explore and develop primary relationships with siblings, parents, teachers and the broader community in a supervised environment.
Such experiences are fundamental to early childhood development yet high-density urban living can restrict gardening opportunities at home. The school becomes the obvious venue to "close the gap" and open opportunities with unlimited potential for improvement that will see us all benefit in so many ways and result in a much more prosperous and successful future.