We have been in Hackney this week working with Eco Active and the Primary school next door - Morningside. The last day we worked with people from the community and despite the rain it was great fun.
Below is one of our newly planted living willow domes at Rumboldswhyke Infant School Chichester last December 2013 and above it is the same dome in May 2014 with Mrs Sayce the Headteacher and Ganesh in it.
The season has come around again very quickly. We are off and running and will be busy planting until late March early April We do still have dates still available so if you have always wanted a living willow arbour, dome, tunnel, fedge in your school or private garden please pick up the phone and give us a call. 01243 511052
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There are 34 junior children seated in their willow dome. The photo was taken in July 2011 and we installed the willow dome and tunnel as part of a large willow village project in January 2011. 34 are sitting comfortably with room for a few more!
Children at Polehampton Junior School have been wallowing in willow this week as they halped create a living Willow Village in the school grounds. The project has been led by Ganesh & Elaine Kings from Birdham in Sussex and with their help every child has been involved in both the planting the willow and learning willow crafts. Everyone is looking forward to seeing the village flourish and grow over the coming years.
"We hear a lot about creative curriculum these days and it's been wonderful to truly live it for a week and a half", says Mrs Montie, the delighted head teacher.
Dear Elaine and Ganesh
"What a fantastic 3 days! I always think it is so wonderful when the whole school can work together on a project where the end result can be enjoyed for years to come. Your energy, enthusiasm and patience ensured that the whole experience was exciting, interesting and enjoyable for the children, teachers, TA's and myself. Thank you so much for teaching me some of the willow craft; it will be great to work with the children to recreate the stars, snails and bird feeders.
See you next winter!"
This is our interactive school assembly prior to our willow dome creation.
We were teaching in a school in Shenley, Hertfordshire in January and working with all the school we created a lovely living willow dome that is in their environmental area. Thank you Clore Shalom for looking after us! Good celebrations for Tu Bishvat!
We work very closely with schools who have a 'Forest School' link.
One of our Living Willow Domes fits in beautifully with Forest Schools - it ticks all the boxes - children getting back to basics digging, hole making, bending hazel rods to make the framework and then planting long native willows diagonally to create a solid practical structure to use as an outdoor classroom. This can be used as a bird hide, shelter and a good place for reflection.
We can teach wood craft using willow and hazel to build dens, show schools how to make small useful items out of willow and hazel such as bird feeders, vases, snails, stars, fish, living pencils.... the list is endless
Plus bush craft skills to turn willow into charcoal in a camp fire.
Camp fire cooking, pancakes and hot choclate....
Plant and Tree identification - plus how to find your way home if you have lost you compass......... and much much more
In March 2010 an OFSTED team met us at a school near Southampton and made this comment:
"How effective is the provision?
The school provides an exciting and memorable education for its pupils. They talked with enthusiasm about their interesting and often fun activities. The building of the schools willow classroom during the inspection fascinated many and the weeks science focus on sustainability all motivated pupils interest and enjoyment of school.
INTERACTIVE LIVING WILLOW DOME AND TUNNEL UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT A PRIMARY SCHOOL
Burwash CE School:
The project so far has exceeded all expectations. It has been a great way to get the children to appreciate the fantastic countryside we have around us, here in Burwash, and to involve them in real decision making. It has been a good way to involve parents and the local community and will hopefully give us many special moments when it is in leaf, as we will be able to use it for drama, nurture groups, storytelling, bird watching, shelter etcetera.
With Ganesh Bruce and Elaine Kings
Working with the children
Endless Learning Potential
Hands on Participation
Enhances School Environment
Linked to School Curriculum
Fun & Exciting
Spring time shot of School willow dome - taken early May. Photo underneath is when it was planted in January of the same year.
We also offer a maintenance servive on our domes for future years.
Plus we can give you a price for living willow structures that other people have installed. Give us a call on 01243 511052
This selection of illustrations and comments relate to the CREATIVE LIVING WILLOW projects that have been constructed with the help of children and adults on school sites
The personal skills and abilities of the children, teachers and helpers have been drawn upon to create special outside places for use throughout the year for study and play.
These projects take account of the Sun Safe Campaign.
School communities have eagerly participated in all aspects of the activities building on the school curriculum and fostering positive attitudes to the environment.
The key objectives of the National Curriculum subject areas have been interpreted in many practical ways throughout the Living Willow Structure Projects.
A typical living willow project is fully discussed with the Head teacher and/or staff to establish the requirements of both the schools curriculum and the planted willow.
A project can range in size and time taken will vary between 1 4 days. Working closely with the staff, children and helpers. Activities are designed to suit the age, ability and curriculum needs of all groups of children. Schools normally opt for a fifth day of willow craftwork.
Based upon previous teaching knowledge and working closely with schools a wide range of ideas have been gathered for extending and integrating the living willow projects. Whole school assemblies at project beginning and end have proved most successful and enjoyable for highlighting the total school community experience.
During the first growing season there will be further visits to the school for willow maintenance, staff training and interactive story telling with the children. Further maintenance would be negotiated.
When Ganesh & Elaine came to build the living willow dome in our field they successfully involved all year groups from Reception to Year 6 in the design and build process. Children were soon enthusiastically designing, measuring and estimating, not to mention planting and weaving. Since its inception the Dome has become an important study area, and is frequently used for activities like storytelling or as a base for outdoor nature/bird studies/ Ganesh has continued to maintain it as it develops. He has also worked with the children on such diverse activities as rainbow candle dying, weaving, making willow bird feeder, studying Hinduism and storytelling. His work continues to encompass a wide range of programmes of study whilst providing highly enjoyable challenges to all age groups.
The class of children were introduced to the various tools and living branches to be used. They then worked alongside Ganesh and Geoff in small groups, helping to dig, plant and weave the hazel and willow into the structure. At each stage the children were encouraged to participate, discussing what they saw, touched and felt about the project. The days were completed with circle time around the dome, including singing, juggling and story telling. An enjoyable conclusion for all.
The living willow structures have assisted several school achieve eco status and in winning local, nation and international awards.
Other popular and successful bio-diversity projects are on offer to schools, teachers and groups. These include creating willow osier beds; small scale orchards, apple pressing days; tree planting and hedging; organic raised bed systems and composting, willow craft workshops, making living pencils and charcoal often using the schools own willow.
Teachers INSET days can be arranged either in schools or at Ganeshs home workshop which is just south of Chichester.