Kildare Place School Wins Local Neighbourhood Award
Kildare Place School in Rathmines has scooped one of Dublin City Council’s Local Neighbourhood Awards. They are the winners in the Schools’ Category for 2020 in recognition of a number of new initiatives they have put in place to help pupils manage and adapt to the ‘different’ return to school this academic year.
The Local Neighbourhood Awards is an annual competition run by the city council. Schools were asked to submit some things they were doing to help children continue to appreciate their environment, particularly at this difficult time.
During lockdown, KPS were busy developing their outdoor spaces as they were acutely aware that time spent outside is beneficial to all children, particularly with the added stress and restrictions.
“We decided as a school to make the most of a new outdoor space, and with the help of a Creative Schools grant, and our super talented caretaker Jacob, we decided to make a new outdoor classroom. It includes a seating and teaching zone, a small wildlife pond with solar fountain, a bug hotel (created using recycled milk cartons and even a new wildflower bed for the D6 Bees! We have also just planted lots of new bulbs to bring smiles to our faces in the spring,” explains school principal Ian Packham.
“We took our yard playing area and added new playground game stencils to engage the children and to encourage group play. We are aware with so much time spent apart there may have been some shyness within friendship groups. We were also conscious that due to the Covid restrictions we would have to reduce the space that each class had access to, so felt that having some fun activities would help keep our pupils active. These have been hugely successful and it’s amazing how the children have taken an idea and used their imaginations to create new and wonderful play activities,” he added.
The new outdoor classroom had come into its own prior to the current lockdown. The days spet designing, digging and building were all worthwhile as the classes were able to take advantage of the new outdoor space. Just before lockdown the school welcomed RTE to film a short piece for the Six–One News. They were only able to facilitate this as they had the outdoor garden in place.
KPS has been encouraging all children who live locally to walk, cycle or scoot to school for the good of the environment and their health. This initiative has been so successful that it prompted a storage issue. Once again Jacob stepped up to the challenge. The caretaker built scooter–specific storage for the bike shed to maximise storage and make it easier for children to access their bikes and scooters. It has been a great success and lots more pupils are scooting every day.