ST PATRICK’S College 4th-year YSI students have come together with the art class to create a sensory garden aimed at improving the wellbeing of both students and staff at the school.
Having returned from remote learning, the students brainstormed what social issues were most common in their area amongst young people and decided on their project entitled Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives which focused on the topic of student well-being.
YSI guide for the school, Elaine Daly, said that they didn’t want to be restricted in their project despite the restrictions that were in place and decided that creating an outdoor space where people could go to unwind and relax would be beneficial to all in the school.
“We decided to create a sensory garden at the side of the school, a decorative garden specific to improving somebody’s wellbeing and a safe place where students and staff could go to unwind and relax and take a break.
“To create the garden we collaborated with the art class which is at the same time as YSI so we decided on a cross-curricular link,” she said.
She said that the YSI students loved working with the students in the art class and with art teacher Catherine Hennessy, with all 30 students taking on the clearing and cutting of trees and hedges before planting seeds and bulbs and decorating birdhouses, benches and creating a mural.
Ms Daly said that they are still in the stages of developing the garden and hope to invite TDs and the Lord Mayor next year for its official opening when it is complete.
The students also raised €860 in funds for Development Pamoja, a small Irish charity working with disadvantaged communities in rural Kenya, through coffee mornings and taking part in The Echo Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon.
Ms Daly said that Speak Out Week was marked in the school by creating a video outlining the whole project and uploading it to the dedicated platform, watching it and reflecting on their project, as well as watching others’ projects from schools across the country.
She said that it has been “fantastic working with the students and seeing them undertaking a project they’re passionate about that motivates them to make a difference in the school”.