Our Stories - Clydeview School

What do you do when you can't take the kids down to the woods today? You bring the woods to them, of course.

The prospect of taking special needs children into a forest to explore the fauna and flora would be a health and safety minefield. But why should they miss out on all that nature's got to offer?

This was the dilemma facing Clydeview School in Motherwell, the only establishment of its type in the whole of North Lanarkshire.

The Teddy Bear Foundation paid £6000 for a wildlife garden to be built within the school grounds, complete with big rocks and tree trunks, perfect for a bit of climbing adventure.

Gardener Gordon Neillie and his team planted some lavatera, buddleia, biburnum tinus and the odd aucuba Japonica.

There are also a number of trees which, once they mature, will provide some welcome shade from the sun and allow teachers to explain how things change with the seasons.

"People might think it's overgrown and could do with a good strimmer," said school head Marie Jo McGurl.

"But that would be missing the point. The idea is that the garden will attract butterflies and insects.

"We have plants and shrubs that will all grow as nature intended, hopefully bringing in some decent wildlife to the school grounds."

The garden is mainly aimed at the three to five-year-old pupils in the school, which takes in children with severe and complex support needs. They share a campus with the mainstream St Bernadette's Primary, allowing pupils from both schools to meet up on a regular basis.

Clydeview has also received little pairs of Wellington boots, spades and watering cans which will let the children explore the garden, even when it's wet.

Judging by the kids' reaction at the official opening ceremony, they
can't wait to get their fingers green.

Kids make themselves at home in the new sensory garden.

Clydeview School enjoying their new wildlife garden.

Getting to know the new sensory garden.

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