Hopscotch Pre-school Learning Garden
Hopscotch Pre-school, a social enterprise organisation, is located in the Tricketts Cross area of Ferndown, adjacent to Heatherlands community centre. Trickett’s Cross has been identified as one of the 5 IMD areas within Dorset, the other 4 being in Weymouth (IMD, 2010). It is an area high in social housing and benefit receivers. We are working to develop a ‘Learning Garden’ at the Pre-School, to provide the children with much needed positive natural outdoor play and learning space, where they can be free to explore the natural world and to learn and play in a caring and sensitive space. Completed in June 2016, we collaborated with Christchurch & East Dorset Council and Natural England to develop and deliver this project, and the garden is now in use by the children.
Excitingly, a research survey organised in partnership with Bournemouth University, will identify and quantify the degree of success of this garden later this year. The survey looks at a number of objectives, including understanding of natural environment, behaviour, interaction, parental views and community perception. We are really interested to find out just how useful the garden has been, and in what areas it has made the biggest difference. We are also very keen to understand and learn if any elements of the garden haven’t been successful, and hope to educate both ourselves and other organisations about this. Project Nurture will deliver the findings to Natural England and Christchurch & East Dorset Council in late Autumn 2016.