Contemplation on the curriculum as bishop opens school reflection garden

Relection GardenPupils at a North Yorkshire Church of England primary school now have a dedicated space for reflection, story-telling and quiet thought away from their busy classrooms, thanks in part to help from a local community fund.

The Bishop of Ripon, Rt Revd James Bell, this week (April 25) officially opened and blessed a new 'Reflection Garden' at Bolton- on -Swale St Mary’s CE Primary School, planting a rose bush at the garden entrance, before spending  time with pupils sitting in the story-telling chair and admiring the views across the fields. He also explored a greenhouse and pond area before touring the school and classrooms.Reflection Garden with Bishop James

The Reflection Garden was partly funded by the Henry Jenkins Memorial Society, a community group which aims to support local causes. It was the vision of the school’s Eco committee – St Mary’s was the first school in North Yorkshire to gain a forth eco ‘Green Flag’.

Speaking at the opening, Bishop James commended the idea of having a space in schools for reflection.  “Having a dedicated space for thinking, and what’s more a beautiful space looking out over the fields, provides a wonderful opportunity to rejoice in our own being, in the gift of creation and in one another.”

Touring the classrooms(Above right, pupils along with teacher Paula Reynolds, Bishop James, Wendy Parr Teaching Assistant and Nicola Dobson, Headteacher)

The entrance to the Reflection Garden features a fish mosaic, into which each child in school placed a tile, symbolising the school’s Christian ethos.

Among others at the opening were governors,  parents, local councillors and representatives of community groups including the parish of Bolton-on-Swale. The Revd Yvonne Callaghan, Vicar of Bolton on Swale and a governor at the school, added, “The Reflection Garden is about being – being able to reflect and being able to think and listen to each other.”