The local 'Reading Garden' project
The children from Loughton School and their input into a local community project ‘The Reading Garden’
Perhaps the biggest news item of 2022 is the Queen’s platinum jubilee. Of course we loved all the school celebrations including the many competitions and our family picnic to get everyone involved. However the 'Reading Garden' deserves it's own special mention as something which has impacted the whole local community – both school and otherwise.
One of our wonderful parents and local artist, Sarah Harper, is the talent and driving force of this community project. Of course we are very proud of all the children from Loughton School who were a part of it and how it supports the local community, promotes a love of reading and also ties in wonderfully with giving back to the local community as part of the celebrations for the queen’s 70th jubilee.
The project itself was to create a local reading garden for all residents to use including a book swap/borrow library. The garden itself is located a few minutes’ walk from our school and the hope is that adults and children alike will use this space as a relaxing place to come and read outdoors.
Sarah first got in touch with our school leaders to ask if we would be interested in supporting the project at the end of 2021 when it was all just an idea. Of course, we were more than happy to promote the project and get involved in any way we can. The first leg of the journey was for children from across the community to design an animal which would become part of the mosaic. She received 250 design applications which went through an independent judging process which kept all of the names anonymised. We were absolutely delighted that 5 out of 6 winners were from children at Loughton School.
After this, those children: Aanya, Evie, Liam, Olivia and Shranya were able to create their designs in mosaic tiles to bring them to life.
We then arranged over several days for some of our disadvantaged children and children with special educational needs to go across with school staff to have their own contribution in the project. Many of them made flowers which can be seen on the side of the library.
At the start of the half term, after donations of flowers and materials from local businesses, it was finally the unveiling of the library and the mosaic. The competition winners were so proud to be presented their contribution certificates by the mayor of Milton Keynes and the high sherrif of Buckinghamshire and leaders and teachers from Loughton School were there cheering them on. The children even made it in our local newspaper! https://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/lifestyle/outdoors/milton-keynes-mosaic-community-art-project-unveiled-for-the-platinum-jubilee-celebrations-3716904
Already we have seen children and their parents using the space and donating books for others. We plan to take groups of children there during the last part of the summer term. Although it is local to Loughton School, it is lovely knowing that this is something everyone in the community can make use of. Thank you Sarah for including us in this amazing project.